It doesn’t matter what your medium of creativity is. You can be a well-seasoned filmmaker or a beginner artist. A graphic designer in your free time, or a fellow copywriter for your company. As long as it involves inspiration, chances are you’ve got to that point where you feel this invisible wall. It is something that cannot be described with words but you know it’s just there – the dreaded creative rut. And believe us, we know first-hand how annoying it is for a creative to hear things like “You haven’t finished that article yet? When do you think that new logo will be done?”. Because you are the first person that knows it has to be done but you just can’t help feeling uninspired. That’s why, dear fellow creatives, we are writing this article for you. We know the struggle and we want to help you get over it. Here is BAM’s guide on How To Stay Creative When Feeling Uninspired.
Ten ways to find your spark again
You are not the first or last person to have difficulties coming up with fresh, creative ideas. Oftentimes, when we get used to our work, it starts to become dull. The comfort you once felt becomes the root of your problem. When this happens, we need to find some new perspectives and challenge ourselves again – even if it is quite tricky when you’re unmotivated.
1. Switch up your environment
Sometimes all you need is a change of air. Working in the same space all the time can make you feel stuck and hamper your motivation. Switching your environment has different levels of change though. It can go from tidying up your work area and changing items you don’t need with elements you enjoy, to going to work in a different room. Now with covid and remote work being established in a lot of companies you can also use it to your advantage. Go work at a café, another city, or even another country if your company allows you. It can completely change your mindset and restore your creativity.
2. Take a break
If switching your environment doesn’t work. Just take a break. Seems pretty simple right? But it has to be a real break. Give your mind time to rest by creating times to look forward to. It can be something as easy as a tea break in the afternoon where you focus on yourself and let your mind wander. Your creativity will thank you later and you will feel more inspired already.
3. Take a nap
We tend to underestimate the effect a poor sleep schedule can have on creativity and motivation. It is important to rest your mind. So if you’re feeling uninspired, try taking a short nap. It can work wonders. Not an easy one to pull off at work but it can be done with just the right technique. Not that we know anything about it though.
4. Tick off your chores
If you’re still looking for how to stay creative when feeling uninspired, ticking off your chores might be for you. Completing daily chores will give you a sense of accomplishment and can provide the jolt of motivation you need.
5. Go for a walk or exercise
This point can really go well with number 1. Tiring your body can allow your mind to focus on something else completely and let your creative side rest. Your brain becomes clear and new ideas can find their way to the surface.
6. Try something new
Even the things you think you’re not very good at. Experiencing new things forces our minds to think differently. New forms of creativity will always add to your exciting ones and never take anything from them. Maybe what you need is to build the 7,500 Lego pieces Replica of the Millenium Falcon. Who knows.
7. Keep an Inspirational Library
Start collecting things that inspire you. It can be a Pinterest board, posters, quotes, souvenirs, doodles you did when you were bored… Anything that can help you find ideas when you need them. It doesn’t have to be only physical or only digital, both can also be a great way to have more sources of inspiration.
8. Have a notebook to jot down ideas
Or a dedicated note on your phone, if writing isn’t your thing. There is never a bad idea. Something you feel like throwing away can be a later source of creativity that will spark many more ideas. Having it close at all times also helps creative people to get that needed rest at night. How many times do we have a hard time sleeping because ideas keep popping into our heads? Just write them down and go to sleep worry-free.
9. Drive distractions out of your mind
We only have so much headspace and if we allow it to fill up with unimportant things it will take away your creative focus. Whether it is those stressful things that are eating you up or simply having your phone beside you. Are you waiting for an important phone call? A package that was supposed to arrive today? Or are you simply mindlessly letting the internet get the better of your concentration? Well, my friends, it is time to stop these things from controlling your mind. Accept that some things you can’t control, others you can do something about it. So do it and get it over with. You will feel liberated.
10. Accept the rut
Sometimes we need to feel stuck to push ourselves. Having a rut is part of the creative process. Embrace the failures, learn from them and trust that it’ll pass.
Find inspiration in others…
Next step in our guide on How To Stay Creative When Feeling Uninspired is to learn how to be inspired by others. Seems like a very forward concept but sometimes there is a fine line between inspiration and ripping off someone’s work. If you are feeling stuck in a rut, it is absolutely normal to try and find inspiration in others. Could be your friends, artists you follow, or people you admire.
…but don’t be a thief
When you want to find inspiration in other people’s work, what you need to keep in mind is that stealing is not bad. Every artist steal’s from others. The point is that you don’t steal everything. Just what you need. You might find a technique you like, a color palette, or even a process. When you find that thing you were looking for, then you are ready to go back to your work.
At that moment, to really keep yourself from simple theft, do this:
- Create wildly but choose carefully what you want to share with everyone. Don’t stunt your creative growth by thinking that re-creating is not creating too. By copying the people you admire you can enhance your work. Just don’t pass off someone else’s work as your own.
- Know the difference between good stealing and bad stealling: Good theft studies, bad theft skims. Good theft steals from many sources; bad theft steals from one. Good theft credits the source; bad theft plagiarizes. Good theft transforms; bad theft imitates. Good theft remixes; bad theft rips off.
- Work from memory. Memories are flawed. Some theories even suggest that every time you conjure a memory, you are actually recreating it in your mind. So the memory you have of eating ice-cream with Grandpa Bernard where your cone was as big as the empire state building might be a copy of a copy of a copy. Recreating something from memory will almost 100% of the time be really different than the original version.
- Finally, be authentic, not original.
There you have it. Don’t be afraid to be inspired by others. Hell, this isn’t the first article on creativity ever done. We had to find inspiration and sources in order to write ours too.
Five free programs to kickstart your creativity
1. Adobe Color
To put it simply, this web-based app allows you to easily create, browse and share color themes and palettes. The perfect app when you need to find inspiration for a graphic project or simply play with it. It can even sync your palettes to other Adobe apps.
This is one of our favorite programs for our guide on How to stay creative when feeling uninspired. It is a mind-blowing AI painting app. It is only available for computers with an NVIDIA RTX GPU though. But believe us, it is worth it as soon as you see your simple brushstrokes become incredible realistic images.
A very simple web-based app where you can create pixel art and animated sprites from your browser. The interface is super simple and intuitive that will keep your mind of your rut for ours.
This amazing drawing program from Autodesk prides itself on making you feel as if you were drawing on real paper. The perfect starter program for a creative person or an artist.
Last but not least, MagicaVoxel will allow you to zone out and have good ol’ creative fun all around. Use 3D pixels called voxels to create models as you want.
Netflix Docus and Movies to feel inspired
Finally, to end our guide, allow us to give you a list of recommended movies you can watch when feeling uninspired so that you can fill your creative batteries back up!
- The Pixar Story (2007)
- They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead (2018)
- Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things (2015)
- Print the Legend (2014)
- Steve Jobs (2015)
- Feel Rich (2017)
- The Creative Brain (2019)
- Abstract: The Art of Design (2017)
Voilà! We didn’t want to give you too many details about the movies since we want to let them do the talking. We hope this guide will help you get out of that rut you are in and wish you good luck with your future projects. See you next time.