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How to Find Creative Inspiration and Stay Inspired: Tips for Writers and Artists

Updated on March 25, 2014
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Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

The Milwaukee Art Museum, Summer 2012
The Milwaukee Art Museum, Summer 2012 | Source

Whether you write or create art for a hobby or as a career, it can be easy to stagnate when the creative ideas aren't flowing or to burn out all together when you're pushing through rough times. If you are facing either of these dilemmas, don't despair. There are many simple strategies that you can use to bring new inspiration to your daily routine. Once you have rejuvenated this routine, don't be afraid to mix it up once in a while and to take the time to re-evaluate.

A year of daily art in 5 minutes

Even when you're not ready to start working on another project right now, pull the supplies that you need so you're ready to go later.
Even when you're not ready to start working on another project right now, pull the supplies that you need so you're ready to go later. | Source
  • Set goals for yourself. I have daily, weekly, and yearly goals. This helps me stay organized on a daily basis and to keep a perspective on my long term progress. Figure out what makes the most sense for you.
  • Get organized. I know that we would all rather be creating than organizing. However, staying organized is crucial for productivity. Develop an organization system for your supplies and work space(s) and stick with it.
  • Get regular exercise. This may seem like a random point. Obviously exercise is important for everyone. When you have a job that requires sitting most of the day, make a point to get up and move throughout the day or at least several times a week. Even a 10-15 minute walk can make a big difference.
  • Join a writing or artist critique group or forum. No matter what stage you are at with your writing or art, you should be getting it out there. You don't have to be part of a formal group or class to make this happen. One reason that I enjoy Etsy teams is for the feedback that I get from fellow sellers.
  • Always have a new project in the works. Even when life gets crazy and you aren't working on a new project every day, it's nice to have that next idea there waiting for you. It also makes it easier to work for small periods at a time when you don't have to start from scratch every time.
  • Brainstorm. I know that I stress this all the time, but it is a huge factor for my consistency with writing and Etsy listings. You do not have to use all of the ideas that you brainstorm, but it keeps your thought process moving.
  • Listen to music. This is not essential, but finding the right music and radio programs to fit different tasks throughout my day makes a big difference with my productivity. The music that I listen to while I write is not necessarily the same as the music I listen to while I'm out walking.

Beautiful Light Music - easy smooth inspirational - long playlist by relaxdaily: Ocean Breeze

  • Read quality blogs with rich images. There are so many creative blogs out there that fit just about every creative niche. Create a blog roll or reader list with blogs that feed your inspiration.
  • Spend productive time browsing online. This does not mean spending a couple hours pinning tons of wedding dresses on Pinterest when you aren't even engaged. Set a time limit for your browsing and spend time on specific searches that are relevant for your current projects and interests.
  • Get off the computer and read books and magazines. Obviously there are tons of great resources online, but it can help mix up your day by spending time reading off of the computer, too. The library can be a great asset for this.
  • Talk with like minded friends and family about your work on a regular basis. Communicate with people who will build you up, not bring you down.
  • Participate in challenges. It is easy to get comfortable and let your work stagnate. Push yourself to find new challenges and opportunities so that you keep growing and learning.

I like to mix up my routine with little excursions in Milwaukee during the week.
I like to mix up my routine with little excursions in Milwaukee during the week. | Source
  • Take mini field trips. Whether you are by yourself or with family or friends, mix up your routine with a little field trip. It doesn't have to be far from home. If it will be inspiring to bring your camera with you, put it in your bag. If it just adds another task, leave it behind.
  • Switch up your medium, topic, or themes. One of the best ways to stay fresh is to explore something new. There are so many ways to do this. It can be something simple like writing about a new topic or it can be a big endeavor like learning a brand new skill set for an art technique.
  • Take time off, even if you aren't taking a vacation. We all need a mental health day once in a while. Whether you write or create art as a hobby or a job, there is no need to beat yourself up for not producing new work every day. A day or two off sometimes can increase your productivity when you do return to work.

Take the time to evaluate and reorganize your supplies on a regular basis.
Take the time to evaluate and reorganize your supplies on a regular basis. | Source

TIPS: Creative Craft Organization

  • Eliminate parts of your online routine that are a drain. For example, if you find that keeping up with Twitter is a headache and not very productive for you, give it up.
  • If you have set long term goals, re-evaluate them on a regular basis. It can be a huge boost to see how much progress you've made. Don't be afraid to change goals as needed.
  • Refresh and/or reorganize your workspace. If you're tired of looking at the same things on your office walls every day, take sometime to create and/or purchase some new pieces. Are you frustrated because your current organizational system isn't working so well anymore? Step back and figure out how you can make some updates. Even making a couple simple changes to your work areas can make a big difference.


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