Tuesday, March 23, 2010

When we engage in what we are naturally suited to do, our work takes on the quality of play and it is play that stimulates creativity - Linda Naiman

 I got an email from one of my readers, and because I felt like we have all been in a creative rut at some time during our lives, I decided to post this question for all to see [with her permission of course].
Dear Nikole,

First let me say how much I love your blog.....what stands out to me is how creative you are with your do it yourself projects, blog topics, jewelry and photography. I am an aspiring artist and I have a hard time really being creative and feeling good about my work. Did you take any classes? Is there something I can do because I feel uninspired right now. HELP!

MT (from Maryland)
I think we all have our times where we feel uninspired, I personally feel like that from time to time. To be honest, I needed a boost of inspiration last week because I just felt out of it. I think that is perfectly normal. The key is to not let your feelings debilitate progress. You have to learn how to snap-out-of-it sort to speak. When I run into a creative stumbling block I usually do a few things;

 - Organize my workspace
 - Relax. Take about 5 minutes to just sit. Try not to plan, or deliberate on the days events. I find it best if I have a clear mind prior to pursuing any creative task

  - Break the monotonous cycle - If you take the same way home everyday, take a different way. If you normally start working on projects during the day, start at night. Listen to different music, the avenues for change are endless. Open your eyes to new sights, and your ears to new sounds. I have to switch things up occasionally because repetition really bores me.

- Don't be afraid to break the rules - I really used to be stuck on "rules" on "precedents", the "who did it before me and how they did it". Now don't get me wrong, I do believe there is a right and wrong way to do things within reason. However, from my experience I am normally in my most creative state when I am able to practice free thought.
- Let go of needing to have it perfect - I missed out on so many opportunities because I had to have everything perfect. It doesn't sound like a bad problem to have, however if I were to look back at the projects I started [that were never completed, or scrapped completely] they all have one very common denominator. I felt they weren't good enough. It didn't matter the hours, weeks, or days I put into a project, I always found an excuse NOT TO LAUNCH it. If you keep striving for perfection before you complete something, you may never complete it. Looking back on it, it wasn't that I was producing crappy work, I was just afraid of failure. Which leads me to my next tip.

- Don't be afraid to fail - I hate the word fail. I like to refer to it as learning. When some are afraid to fail, they are hesitant on taking that next step. Being creative and stepping out on your own takes faith! You must really close your eyes and step out on that limb even though a safety net isn't guaranteed. Furthermore, you can't be afraid of falling. I look at it like this, if I fall, I get back up and I am better equipped to do it much better next time.

- Choose your friends wisely - This is a touchy one. Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there that are very comfortable with the status quo. So much so that anyone out there that has beliefs other than their ideologies are looked at as radicals, or dreamers [and oftentimes we aren't supported by those friends]. I don't know how many times I have shared dreams with friends and have heard: "girl, you crazy".

I truly believe that we should try to position ourselves around people and places that exude positive energy. Try to build with like minds, it's always good to exchange ideas with others that can offer a fresh new perspective on things.

- Be yourself, everyone else is already taken - Don't try to duplicate something someone has already done. If you like it, use it as inspiration. Do your interpretation of what inspires you, as you will surely have a different take on it. You will appreciate it a lot more, and so will your audience.

- It's ok to be inspired by others - It gets the creative juices flowing! Start an inspiration board if you haven't already. I have an inspiration sketchbook I take with me everywhere, in it I have tearsheets, scribbles, fabric swatches, doodles, and random pictures. I find it easier to look at pictures to get inspiration vs making a list of all the things I want to do.

Check out some of these cool inspiration boards/work-spaces I found.

I hoped this has helped you, or others out there that are trying to work through that creative rut. Also, here are a few books that I recommend checking out in your spare time;

The Creative Habit - Learn It and Use It For Life


  1. wow. great post... you are so right in everything you said... from surrounding ourselves with those who are like us to not being afraid to fail. this post was very inspirational... and those work areas are awesome!!! I just recently have had it in my mind that I want to start a journal with clippings etc. of things that inspire me or even recipes I don't want to forget... I guess something like a life journal of all the things I love.

  2. I often feel like I need to spend more time being creative. What has worked for me is just doing: looking through a magazine to get inspiration, opening up my make-up kit and playing with color combinations, using face charts to recreate some of my fave looks. Anything that gets me in the act of actually doing something creative and related to my passion. It doesn't have to be monumental or especially interesting, I have just have to be engaged.

  3. I absolutely love this Nik!!!! You have been inspiring me on a daily basis! I am looking @ creativity in a whole new way! Your blog is fab, I tune in daily! Keep it up!


  4. I posted a link to this on my blog under Resources, great info to pass along. Thanks again!

  5. This post was truly inspiring. I feel that way very often so I can totally relate. Everything you, Nikole mentioned rings so true. Thank you for sharing.

  6. i have been feeling the same way lately and this post was very helpful!

  7. Hi, love this post. I can definitely agree with surrounding yourself with great people. It's also good to have someone that is "above you." Meaning someone who is not on your same level. Not necessarily a mentor but someone that can keep you motivated.

    I also love this site:


    You guys should check it out!

  8. Is it wrong to say that a little bit of white wine seems to always trigger my creative conscience? :-D

    I just took a long walk down my oh-so-cool neighborhood and all of the homes and buildings inspire me every time, if nothing than to go outside more often.

  9. I totally agree with you, Nikole. These are wonderful tips on how to keep the creative juices flowing. Remember too, that inspiration is not only inside you, but all around you as well. I like to take cues from mother nature, and my surroundings. There is beauty everywhere, if you take the time to look for it. Luv your blog, thanks for sharing some of your personal insights and creativity with us!!!

  10. the quote by jim jarmusch is one of my absolute favorites.

    and i'm googling where to find that t shirt on creativity and art.


  11. Thank you everyone for the wonderful comments on this post! Jajababy I am in love with that website, thank you for turning me on to it! Chrissytina lets toast some glasses of Moscato to that!! LOL Stella you are absolutely right! Inspiration is everywhere! All you have to do is open your mind, and your eyes. Frenchiexpoo if you find it, can you let me know??

  12. Hi Nikole,

    Positive energy is truly of utmost importance. I find that I am always at my best when I am "in the mix" so to speak. One of my many passions is writing poetry, and I find that I am at my best when I surround myself in an environment that is "busy" and one where other persons are of like mind. By the way, Moscato is my favorite wine.

    I enjoy reading your blog and your passion for life and positive thinking. I have sooo many passions and am plotting out how to achieve them all.

    Thank you for sharing Nikole!


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