Whatever your creative medium is, we all occasionally get stuck in a rut and need to get back to the basics to reignite our inspiration. Here are a few steps I take to shake the doldrums that you may want to try the next time you’re staring at a blank screen, piece of paper, camera or canvas.
1. Spend some time away from the Internet and social media. We have all been guilty of falling down the rabbit hole of the Internet or social media (hello Pinterest and Instagram!) instead of “creating.” Close out of your Instagram account, put your phone down and just take in your surroundings. Observing your surroundings can inspire a poem, story, photographic composition, blog post, outfit you want to style, illustration you want to draw and much more! It’s amazing sometimes how much life we miss because our eyes are glued to our devices.
2. Work in a different medium. If you are a writer, get out a pencil and pad and start to doodle. If you are a style blogger, try your hand at doing creative dramatic make-up looks or back your favorite recipe. If you are painter, get out your camera or phone and start shooting tidbits of everyday life. Working in a medium you are unaccustomed to can sometimes give you a different artistic perspective.
3. Go to a museum or gallery. Even if you aren’t a visual artist, checking out a local museum or gallery can really help you to see things from a different perspective. Most cities have affordable museum or gallery options you can visit. Philadelphia has a plethora of museums and galleries such as The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The African American Museum in Philadelphia and Vivant Art Collection to name a few.
4. Set up a coffee date with an inspiring friend or mentor. We all have those friends and mentors who are endless sources of inspiration. Set up a coffee date with your inspiring friend or mentor (or even a group of them!) to talk through your goals, creative pursuits, to ask for or to offer feedback. Actionable steps can become very clear when you talk about your goals and concerns with someone whose feedback you respect.
5. Free write/free draw/take photos of things in everyday life that inspire. While spending time away from your computer, take some time to write, draw or take photos with no end goal in mind. You may find that when you are creating something for no reason, that a specific goal can become apparent later on. But if nothing else, you are creating! And moving beyond the anxiety that can be associated with experiencing a creative block.
6. Check out a film or documentary on your to-watch list. It’s easy for many of us to make time to watch our must-see sitcoms or dramas (any Scandal Gladiators out there??), but the next time you feel the urge to sit down and watch TV, check out a film or documentary that you’ve heard about or that is on your to-watch list. These three documentaries I love are currently streaming on Netflix. I also never tire of watching: Amelie, Funny Face, Valentino’s Last Emperor, and The September Issue.
7. Get moving. Take a walk, put on those running shoes, take that yoga class, or simply turn up the radio in your apartment and just dance like no one is watching. Yes, your boyfriend/roommate/cat may look at you like you’re crazy, but getting your blood pumping may shift your perspective and get you over that creative block.
What steps do you take to get over creative blocks?