When inspiration (doesn’t) hit

burned out light

As all creative people know, the waxing and waning of inspiration is a part of the deal. You can force it, but why should you (unless a deadline looms)? Instead of trying to coerce yourself into creativity, or beating yourself up for a lack of ideas, take the opportunity to be lazy. Watch an episode of “Mad Men.” Eat, take a disco nap, or tidy the house.

{ Under no circumstance should you look at your twitter feed
to see all the amazing work everyone else is doing. 

And if you really feel you must get to work, try these 13 ways to kickstart creativity.

But when inspiration hits, take advantage of the swell of ideas. Build on your concepts — those little golden nuggets of potential — and develop as much of the ideas possible. Then, when you are feeling less than motivated, the work is already started and just a little tweaking is required to finish the project… or story… or whatever it is you are working on.

For instance, I recently launched a redesigned website for my graphic design business. The old site was totally… old – both in the static layout and undersized images as well as the outdated body of work I was showing in my online portfolio. I felt sad when I looked at it. A classic “cobbler’s children have no shoes” situation. I dreaded thinking about the site, let alone working on it. After more than a year of procrastination, I felt the urge to dig in. I took advantage of that crumb of motivation. Once I started, I became really excited about my portfolio and the body of work taking shape on my site. And it looked good! While the process of getting mentally ready to redesign the site took many months, the actual redesigning the site took less than two weeks. Go figure.

I know people who write in a journal or draw every day. I am jealous of their discipline and focus. Forcing myself to create when I’m not in the mood feels like another chore to add to a long list of daily to-dos. It’s just not how I work. I’ve accepted the ebb and flow of creativity in myself. And acceptance is part of being a happy creative.

I want hear from you! What’s your secret to unlocking creativity?

vintage metal display letters

I have long dreamt of having a large-scale type installation in my home. Imagine a giant, white wall covered with vintage letters of varying size and fonts. Fantastic! Image: Reclaimed It makes a statement to visually define a space with type, spelling out words with the metal letters. I am especially fond of the “drugs” sign below. {READ MORE}

copper foiled watercolor easter eggs

When I began this Easter egg project I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. Initially, I considered creating pattens with the copper leaf on the eggs by taping off a design and then removing the tape after foiling, thereby revealing the pattern in the white shell underneath. But applying metallic foil is delicate work, {READ MORE}

circus act

I don’t love the circus. Okay, I don’t love seeing the animals in the circus (sad!). But I do love the big top, the clowns and bright marquee lights announcing the show. I am inspired lately by primary colors, bright red lips and exaggerated proportions. And I’m not the only one. Fashion designer Cynthia Rowley’s collection {READ MORE}


Flipping through Hemispheres magazine, I came across an article entitled, “Wish You Weren’t Here” about how healthy couples vacation separately. The luck! My decision to go on an expensive, solo trip validated by a few paragraphs in a travel mag. It was officially O.K. for me to leave my family and work for a week-long vacation and {READ MORE}

deer antler jewelry organizer

I’ve come across some beautiful and inspiring painted deer antlers at flea markets and on etsy. Most of the antlers I see are sold as tabletop art. Being a utilitarian girl, and also generally averse to clutter, I look for innovative uses for everyday (and not-so-everyday) objects. It occurred to me a mounted deer antler, {READ MORE}

valentine’s day cupcakes repost

Recently i was daydreaming about frosting and how beautiful it is when the food coloring is mixing in, before it’s fully incorporated. I wanted to try to recreate that as a finished look. So I made some valentine-themed cupcakes to bring to a dinner party. I have been into sweethearts as a source of creative inspiration (see also {READ MORE}

babying the big girls

While one of my children has never been seriously injured, the other one has been to the emergency room many times. We could talk about the iniquity of it all, but life is just like that: unfair. Our latest visit to the ER was for a nasty radius fracture—the result of a poorly-executed backbend walkover. {READ MORE}

pie fun(nel)

One of the best gifts I received for Xmas this year was from a dear friend who presented me with a pie funnel. What is a pie funnel? you might ask. Well, it’s a kitchen gadget worth owning, that’s what. Pie funnels, also referred to as pie birds, are a time-honored baker’s tool that have helped create {READ MORE}

keeping it light

So much has been going on in life right now. One kid with a broken arm, the other one (and me) getting the flu, and fighting with a stressed-out spouse have kept me close to home the past few weeks. This season, my theme is lightness. Light in spirit, heavy on love. I remind myself daily {READ MORE}