When you need to create a new design, that’s when all the concepts seem to dry up. When you’re launching a new line, that’s when none of your pieces look any good.
When creativity is your livelihood, the harder it is to keep a hold of that spark that made you pursue your passion in the first place.
But let’s make something very clear: you are creative. Whether you regularly turn empty canvases into masterpieces or words into stories, creativity is always inside you.
So, how do you make it come out when it doesn’t want to?
Embrace your bad work
Not all of your creations will be sellable. You’ll make things that you hate and sometimes your work just sucks.
But success takes persistence and persistence takes pain.
The more bad work you do, the more you get better at your craft. Each new creation will suck less than the previous, and eventually, you’ll find specks of genius in your work again.
So, it doesn’t matter whether you love or hate the work you’re producing right now. Keep making until you run out of supplies. Keep painting until your hand hurts. Keep writing until your ink stops flowing. Keep designing until you can’t do it any longer.
Accept the fact that not everything you produce will be brilliant and accept the failure that you will run into every single day. Stop embracing perfection. Start making, don’t stop and see where it takes you.
When you surround yourself with constraints, it’s natural to want freedom again. And naturally, you’ll become more creative as a result. Being creative usually has a few requirements. You need to have your equipment, and then you need a constraint.
- You need a canvas to paint. But you need a sketch first.
- You need a notebook to write. But you need a topic first.
- You need instruments to make music. But you need a tune first.
Without inspiration your work will always stay the same. Here are several simple ways for you to discover inspiration again through limiting yourself.
Find a prompt
Come up with a word, any word. Now aim to create something around that word. Creative prompting is the process of using words, phrases or objects as themes. You can use colors, household objects, nature or even a dictionary to discover your prompts.
There’s no better way to constrain yourself then by doing a challenge. Many creativity challenges include daily prompts and themes for you to work off. You can download our free 15 Day Creative Instagram Challenge It’ll help you explore new ways of showing off your creations and shaking up your daily creative routine.
Like a creativity challenge, you can set yourself a themed project and do it over a set period of time. First, choose a prompt. This could be a word, a theme or even a medium. Next, choose a period of time. You can do a 7 day, 30 day, 100 day or even a 365 day themed project.
@bygracecharity paints a different watercolor swatch every single day for 100 days.
@adamsela started the year with a blank embroidery hoop. Every week for 52 weeks, she adds a few more stitches to the piece.
Form your creative river
You probably know what it’s like to be in flow. It’s when creativity seems effortless and it’s 2am but you’re wide awake immersed in a project. Flow is random and it often feels like it comes out of nowhere.
But how do you zone into flow when your mind doesn’t want to?
You need to form a river.
Rivers are formed from tiny streams of water. Eventually, the constant flows form through cracks of land before a river is born.
I encourage you to treat your creative process like a river. Look for prompts and constraints and just keep making things. Admire your great creations and love your bad pieces. When you keep making, failing, making and failing again, eventually you’ll fall into multiple instances of flow.
The river is when sitting in front of a blank canvas becomes empowering instead of scary. It’s when you instinctively know what to do with a brush, a pair of knitting needles or a ball of clay. Tedious work becomes mindful. And everything you do is natural.
Creativity is a fickle thing. The process isn’t easy and it will come and go when you least expect it. So, what are some things that you do to embrace creativity? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.