I'm a national bestselling author (still feels weird to say!), keynote speaker, podcaster, and educator. In college, I started a small Etsy shop and blog from the storage closet in my sorority house. Fancy, I know. A few years later, that small Etsy shop grew into an internationally recognized sweatshirt brand & that dinky little blog led to bestselling books and publishing career. Now, I'm obsessed about helping other women pave their own path and work from home in their pajamas, too.
Every Wednesday, I send my insiders exclusive resources, ideas, and advice directly from me.
OOF. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is worse than running out of all creative inspiration as a creative entrepreneur. I mean, really, I’d rather hang by my toenails.
Maybe you’ve experienced those creative blocks, too. Where you stare at your screen or your sit in your office with literally NOTHING to say or no ideas of what to create.
Or, maybe you experience what I experience that can be just as bad…
Sometimes, I get stuck because I have SO many ideas and don’t know which one to actually act on.
You ever experience that? UGH. THE WORST.
Anyway, the whole point of this post is to give you my best tips to get those creative juices flowing and find some clarity when you’re feeling stuck. So, I’ve included the top 7 action steps that work for me below.
Let’s say you’re in marketing and you’re totally out of ideas when it comes to creating content for your online community.
Reading a book can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing again… especially if you read for fun and don’t force yourself to be inspired. If you’re forcing yourself to find something, it’s not going to feel very natural or be very strong.
No creative work that is forced will be your best creative work.
So, I’d say read a book for fun but for heaven’s sake, don’t read another book about marketing.
Your brand may teach marketing but your brain is much more complex than that and it may be hitting a creative block because it’s practically begging you to feed it something other than the latest email marketing hack.
Give your brain some Huckleberry Finn or Home Decor inspiration or SOMETHING other than what it constantly has to think about — and what it’s currently striving to come up with material on.
Look, when you’re having a hard time thinking creatively, trying to shove more of the same thing in your brain constantly just drains your brain.
Plus, if you’re reading a book on the very subject you’re trying to think of creative ideas around, the ideas you come up with probably won’t be very unique to you if you’re reading someone else’s teaching on it.
To clarify, I’m not saying you shouldn’t learn from others in your industry. I actually encourage this. But not when you’re thirsting for ideas and lacking creativity. When this happens, it’s time to mix it up.
And watch, as you read about minimalism or parenting or something else, you’ll probably be re-inspired in your own field of expertise. You might read a parenting tip and think, “Oh my gosh! This totally applies to marketing when it comes to nurturing your audience! Why didn’t I think of this before?!”
And before you know it, you’re using parenting principles to help your team or students think about their marketing efforts differently or more strategically.
You have to give your brain a break and let it be re-inspired in areas you normally don’t invest much energy.
You know what’s crazy? I have had some of my best ideas when Matt and I are doing yard work, riding a bike, or painting our chicken coop.
Seriously! I know it sounds crazy but there have been many times where we’re pulling weeds or raking leaves and out of the blue I’m like, “OMG BABE I JUST HAD THE BEST IDEA!” and have to run inside to write it down before I forget.
Ask him, it’s a common thing.
Why is this?
Well, I think it’s similar to the book example. Giving your brain a break and actually doing something other than striving or trying so hard to come up with or figure out the best creative idea for your work is sometimes the very thing your brain needs to be re-inspired!
This has been a really helpful practice for me and works well if people you know fit the avatar of your ideal customer. Many of my peers and friends fit the description of the type of person I create content for every day.
So when I’m lacking creative brain power or struggling to come up with the right thing to create, I try to get together with some of these friends!
Not that this is the only time I get together with them but it makes for a great excuse to call a girls night!
Whether we all go to dinner or watch a movie or grab a cocktail, I find that I’m not only refreshed and re-energized after these meetings but I also walk away with so much inspiration! Listening to my friends and asking them questions about what they’re experiencing not only connects me with my friends but also gives me so much clarity on what my ideal avatar is needing!
So I guess the point here is to spend time with people in your real life to be re-inspired. And it’s a bonus if some of those people are a solid representation of the audience you create for because having face time with them is so, so helpful!
This is such a simple step that I so often forget! Being a creative, I’m ALWAYS wanting to come up with fresh, new ideas and sometimes my brain is like, “Yeah, not today.”
But recently I’ve been combing through content I created last year, or even years earlier, and finding ways to repackage the concepts I was teaching on or sharing on in old posts into content that would be relevant for my audience now.
That way it’s not a total repeat but I’m also not starting with nothing. It gives me a starting point to build on and add to without starting from scratch.
Modifying something you already have can be a great way to get your creative juices flowing again.
Try doing this if you’re a few years into your creative career and running out of ideas when it comes to what to create or say!
As creatives, we can lose creativity when being creative essentially becomes our job.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s the best job ever but SHEESH. Sometimes it can be easy to burn out on the things we love when those things become a job.
So, my best tip in this case is to make something just for fun. Something that you commit not to sell or share… just something for you.
Maybe it’s decorating cookies, or painting a picture for your home, or refinishing your bed’s headboard, or taking a pottery painting class.
Make something for you and only you. Or as a gift for a family member or friend. But don’t make it for your work.
And just watch… you’ll probably be gushing with inspiration for your creative work!
I’ve gotten to a point in my creative career where I just admit to being stuck and talk with fellow creatives, mentors, and my husband about what I’m experiencing.
I ask for feedback, ideas, and advice. My mom (also a creative and entrepreneur) and I have been known to have 2+ hour phone calls trying to solve the world’s problems AKA working through possible ideas or solutions to my creative blocks.
She offers feedback on my very raw and undeveloped ideas, and also helps me develop or strengthen them.
I have other author and business friends who I also call or voice message when I’m just not getting anywhere.
Sometimes just talking through it and flushing it out with others who get it is enough to help me get out of my head and be inspired again.
This seems so obvious but can be so hard. If I’m on a deadline for a book manuscript or project and racking my brain for ideas, stopping what I’m doing and moving to a different environment sometimes feels like the least productive thing I can do.
I have stuff to get done and I need to be in my office!
But when I actually get off my butt and take a few minutes to go downstairs to make a cup of coffee, or take the dog for a walk, or even go grab lunch at my favorite local southern restaurant, I find that creativity sometimes comes back to me.
Regularly changing your environment, getting your eyes off your computer, and moving your booty can be such a simple but game-changing practice.
Okay, your turn! How do you get reinspired when you hit a creative brick wall?
Tell me in the comments below!