Eliminating Creative Droughts

For artists, fresh ideas are the cornerstones of our creative lifestyles, passions, and work.  If I had a dime for every time I heard an artist say “I’m in a creative rut,”  I would be a Zillionaire!!   How is it that creatives like us find ourselves uttering these words?  Is it because the well REALLY does run dry at times?   OR, could it be that we need to visit different wells frequently to make sure that none of our resources get depleted in the first place???   How can we keep the creative juices flowing?     Well, we could tuck our ideas away and save them……

When you have a creative idea, or an “AHA!!!” moment, document it and be diligent to keep track of your ideas for future reference.  (What good is a great idea if you forget it because you were busy at the store buying some hot pockets?)

Keep a special notebook, sketchbook, or handheld recorder with you at all times so that it’s easy to record your inspirations as they come.  If you’re the type that draws on scraps of paper here and there (like me), you could use an old shoe box to keep your quick idea sketches or doodles in and label it Bright Ideaz so that you don’t have to worry about losing them.      – I’ve often thought of better painting compositions by simply looking through old sketches or paintings, so please don’t throw anything like that away…it will be valuable to you in the future. –

To get inspired, generate ideas and save them for the future, you can…

  • Record specific details from your dreams every morning for a week.
  • Review your favorite artist’s work and make notes about what you like.
  •  Revisit old works that you did 5 years ago.  (How would you create them today?) 
  •  Listen to some of your favorite songs from high school…go down memory lane and see what ideas emerge.
  •  Listen to some music that you absolutely love and think of how to interpret it for somebody who is hearing impaired.
  • Enjoy nature by going to a park or lake and take time out to breathe in deep and really NOTICE creation in action around you.
  • Get a box of crayons and melt them, draw with them, glue them together, etc.
  • Do a few illustrations of scenes from your favorite book.
  • Drive out in the country on a cloudless night and sit under the stars…gaze at their beauty and ponder their significance. (Take a flashlight in case you get some ideas and need to write them down.)
  • Visit an assisted care facility for the elderly and contemplate the aging process and the wisdom that comes along with it.
  • Visit the newborn nursery at a local hospital and contemplate the wonder and miracle of life and new beginnings.  

Another thing I want to encourage you to do is be gentle on yourself regarding the whole idea generating process and don’t be too critical during your brainstorming/brainblooming sessions.  Something may seem like a good or bad idea at first, but space and time may change your perception of it later on.  To reiterate…please don’t throw any of your idea notes or sketches away…they may prove to be very valuable to you in the future.

If you happen to go through a creative dry spell, take the time to go through your collected notes and sketches to see if you get some creative sparks and then move into action.      If you want to avoid a dry spell altogether make a date with your sketchbook or notebook about once a month.  Turn off the cell phone, tv, radio, and make some cocoa, then take 2-3 hours to go through your sketchbooks and notebooks.  When you do this, you’ll generate even more ideas which will refill your creative well.   🙂

 

-Michelle McSpadden

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One Response to “Eliminating Creative Droughts”

  1. Great suggestions, Michelle. I love that list. The idea of redoing something you did 5 years ago is sharp. You’ll see the distance between where you were and are.
    -ML

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