Yesterday I made the ugliest project I’ve made in years. A craft fail of such epic proportions that I refuse to show it in fear that it may follow me around the internet forever. Even though I had planned several projects, it squashed my creativity for the rest of the day. Enter the dreaded creative block.
I would love for every day to be filled with creative genius. But the truth is, some days it feels like my mojo fairy is hanging out on some fabulous Hawaiian beach without me. And even though it may seem like every other creative soul sharing their work is cranking out masterpieces, we all get stuck sometimes.
So what do we do to get that creativity flowing again? Here’s a list of my favorite ideas to help bring that mojo fairy back home and cranking out the inspiration.
20 Creative Block Busters
- Change your medium. If you’re a jewelry artist, try some clay. If you’re a painter, try markers. Make something completely different from your “usual” to jump start your brain.
- Learn a new technique. Discover a new technique you can use in your work, or something completely different you’ve been wanting to learn. Get that brain thinking!
- Make a small, fast project. Gift tags, greeting cards, colored backgrounds, bookmarks, and other small projects can be made quickly and without needing a lot of planning and thought.
- Take a speed challenge. Pick a topic, set a timer for 15 minutes, and go. No thinking, just making.
- Carry a sketchbook. Take note of pretty color combinations, a word that strikes you, sketch ideas, and write concepts as you see or think of them. Refer back to your book when the ideas aren’t jumping out on their own.
- Take a creative field trip. Go outside the studio with a trip to the theater, a museum, concert, makerspace, wildflower field, art store or other inspiring space. My trip to the Cincinnati Library Makerspace gave me at least a half-dozen new project ideas.
- Use up leftovers. Make a project using only extra supplies from previous projects. Use up leftover paint to make backgrounds, carve tiny stamps from rubber scraps, piece fabric bits to make a quilt square. Use in future projects.
- Schedule a creative playdate. Meet up with a friend to create together. Soak up some creative vibes!
- Doodle, glue, write random words or make marks. Blank pages can be daunting. Just putting something on the page can get the creative juices flowing.
- Turn the page. Sometimes it’s better to set a project aside and come back to it later with fresh eyes. In the meantime, start something new or revisit an old favorite.
- Take a walk. Be inspired by things you see, touch, hear or smell. Or just use it as a break to re-center your focus. Plus you get some extra Vitamin D. Yay!
- Crank up the music. Find something that gets you moving and improves your mood.
Bang head repeatedly on desk.OK, not really. Just seeing if you were still with me. Plus, it doesn’t work. I’ve tried.
- Teach. Show someone how to do what you do. Whether a class, a friend, or a child, their interpretation may surprise you.
- Take a color or product challenge. Ask a friend to choose 3–5 colors or products. Only use those for your next project. (Click photo for product challenge tag tutorial)
- Collaborate. Join together with a creative colleague, friend, or even a family member to make something together. Design something together or take turns adding a piece to a project or story.
- Take photos. Photograph objects that inspire you in some way over the course of a day or week. Find commonalities in the photos and use them to jump start an idea.
- Get inspired online. Curate a Pinterest board of photographs, art, design, or other things that catch your eye. Use a color, shape, location or style to inspire (not copy) your own ideas. See what inspires me at Carla Schauer Designs on Pinterest.
- Get Silly! Get up and dance, take goofy selfies, have a sack race in the yard. Ditch stress and frustration. Smile, laugh, and relax!
- Deadlines. Never underestimate the power of last-minute panic! Perfectionism, waffling, and overthinking are out the door, so what’s left is that pure creative instinct you’ve been searching for.
There’s no one perfect way for everyone to find their creative inspiration, but having some ideas ready when the inevitable bump of frustration or self-doubt happens is a great place to start. I’d love to hear what else you use to smash that creative block and get your inspiration back!
Wishing you creativity and infinite masterpieces!