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 The old site was totally… old – both in the static layout and undersized images as well as the outdated body of work I was showing in my online portfolio.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?

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