Lately, I’ve been in a version of what most people would more commonly call a creative “funk”. I’m not talking about the sort of “funk” that George Clinton would approve of, but more of a creative dry spell. The new and exciting ideas were just not flowing as easily as they once were.
I’m sure anyone in even a somewhat creative roll can sympathize with me. Hitting mental roadblocks and creative dry spots is a part of being human. It happens.
Taking some comfort in knowing that I’m not alone in feeling this way, I knew I needed to do something about the creative “funk” I was in and make sure I kept those big ideas flowing. So for this Everyday Creative post I want to take a slightly different approach and try to shed some light on what I did to overcome the “funk”. Hopefully it might even help you tackle some of your own creative roadblocks!
The image above has a few things in it that have greatly inspired me recently. Such a huge part of being a creative person is the inspiration behind that creativity. It’s gasoline to the fire. It’s what keeps creative people innovating and turning out their best work. The beautiful thing about inspiration is that it can come from literally anywhere, if you keep an open mind. Inspiration can come from the crisp, clear air of an early October morning, or the smell of a newly rediscovered, dusty, century-old, antique book. To some, it may be sharing a cup of coffee with a close friend, or the thrill of adventure found in traveling to new places. The key to staying inspired is slowing down enough to look more closely and engage with the beauty in the world around you, wherever that may be.
I find that capturing and documenting things that inspire me for later reference helps me keep that inspiration. I have been a big fan of websites like Pinterest and Designspiration for years now because they allow me to archive images that I find interesting for later use. Being more of a visually creative person, I tend to save a lot of design, typography, fine art and photography. However, one thing I have been slowly learning as I grow older is to broaden the areas I look to for inspiration to balance and sort of cleanse my visual pallet. I have started letting my inner hoarder out to save or take photos of things that I find interesting, rather than just passing them by or throwing them out. The bigger and broader the archive of inspirational things you keep accessible to you, the more creative you will be when you need to be.
Probably the single biggest thing I have found that keeps me inspired and creative is to make time to creatively “vent” every now and then. For me it has been picking up a fresh sketchbook to draw more often (and practice lettering my wife’s name). In such a digital world run by computers (because they are wonderful, timesaving tools), I start to miss the scratch of pencil to paper that I grew up with. Keeping a sketchbook and a good pencil handy to draw, write, sketch and take notes is something that was absent in my creative “funk”. It is my exhale. The freedom and possibilities I find in a blank white page is a part of the very core from which my inspiration originates.
However, the beautiful thing about creatively venting is a good vent can be found in a lot of different ways. Maybe for you it’s capturing the world around you in a photo, or crafting something out of wood with your hands, or nurturing a happy and healthy garden. Whatever it may be, making the time in your week to decompress and do something to stay inspired is the key to being creative in new ways, everyday.
How do you stay inspired and creative?