Refill Your Creative Well

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Whether you work in a cre­ative field or are working on do it your­self dec­o­rating projects, some­times the idea and cre­ativity wells run dry. You find your­self staring at your blank living room wall for months, trying to figure out what you want to do with it, how to make it work cohe­sively with your room. Even the best designers will get stumped at times. What do you do to get out of that rut and find inspi­ra­tion? Brain­storming, mag­a­zine clip­ping, Pin­terest paroozing and inspi­ra­tional field trips are all great ways to get the cre­ative waters flowing. We found an amazing article on Houzz that will help you fill that well and keep it brim­ming with fab­u­lous ideas. Allow us to present (cue the dra­matic echo sound effect) 11 Ways to Refill Your Cre­ative Well by Laura Gaskill.

1. Work less but smarter. The painter Chuck Close once said, “Inspi­ra­tion is for ama­teurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work.” And while just showing up cer­tainly must be part of any cre­ative professional’s rou­tine, I don’t see any point in sit­ting at your desk for an hour or two if you’re not get­ting any­thing done. If you find you tend to waste a lot of time at your desk, per­haps you’re simply spending too long there! Cut down your work time incre­men­tally, and when you are at your desk, force your­self to work efficiently.

2. Know when you work best and plan accord­ingly. On a related note, it is extremely helpful to know at what times of day your energy peaks — and when it slumps. If, for instance, your best time is early morning, use the first two hours of your day to work on your most chal­lenging cre­ative work. Save the more mind­less tasks (like pro­moting your work on social net­working sites and checking email) for later, when you need to do some­thing less demanding.

3. Take a cre­ative field trip. Some days you just need to get out of the office — and unless you have a pressing dead­line, I say go for it. Going out into the world and expe­ri­encing some­thing new can be just the thing to get your cre­ative juices flowing again. Check out a new art exhibit, go on a walking archi­tec­tural tour or take in an open-​​air con­cert. Even if what you do or see is not directly related to your field, it can spark a new cre­ative con­nec­tion, lim­bering up your cre­ative muscle so it’s ready when you need it.

4. Meet up with a friend. Whether your friend works in a cre­ative field or is simply someone you con­nect with and who under­stands you, make a date to go out for coffee, lunch or a walk. If you typ­i­cally take breaks and eat lunch alone (a common occur­rence for entre­pre­neurs), it can be refreshing and uplifting to spend that time social­izing instead.

5. Do some­thing dif­ferent. Shake up your rou­tine. Take a dif­ferent route to work, try writing with your non­dom­i­nant hand, say the alphabet back­ward or listen to a radio sta­tion you’ve never tried before. Pick up a few books at random and read a page or two from each one. Doing things that feel unusual or even a little uncom­fort­able can be won­derful ways to wake up the brain.

6. Move your body. Have you been get­ting enough exer­cise? If not, con­sider carving time out in your day for it — even if you are very busy, it’s worth it. Get­ting your blood pumping will help you think more clearly, feel less stressed and focus more readily. Don’t like the gym? Even a 10-​​minute walk out­doors could be enough to refresh and invig­o­rate you. And if you live close enough to your office or studio, con­sider giving your car time off a few days each week, and take your bike instead.

7. Mine your past. When you are in a cre­ative rut, some­times simply looking at your own past work and ideas is enough to spark some­thing new. If you’ve been working as a cre­ative pro­fes­sional for a number of years, you doubt­less have plenty of old work, inspi­ra­tion files etc. that you can go through. Look over your book­shelves, ide­abooks and mag­a­zine files, too — coming back to some­thing that once inspired you can make you see things in a whole new light.

8. Learn some­thing new. Some­times it helps to become a stu­dent again. Sign up for a con­tin­uing edu­ca­tion course or an online class. Read a new book, or attend a con­fer­ence, lec­ture or weekend work­shop. Just make sure it’s some­thing that sounds enticing to you — the point is to get inspired, invig­o­rated and moti­vated, not to feel as if you’re simply adding more stuff you “have to do” to your schedule.

9. Pick a card, any card. We all have ideas; the problem is accessing them when you need them, right? I sug­gest keeping a small note­book or card file — a place where you can easily jot down ideas and snip­pets of inspi­ra­tion, ques­tions and things to look into or explore as they occur to you. Then when you are stuck, simply flip through your note­book or draw cards until some­thing strikes a chord.

10. Make a bridge to the next day. Hem­ingway used to always stop writing for the day with a bit of story idea still in his mind — that way he knew he would have some­thing to write about when he got to work the next morning. You can do some­thing sim­ilar, no matter what your work is, by pur­posely leaving some­thing unfin­ished at the end of each day. And before you com­pletely finish one project, jot down a few ini­tial ideas for your next, so you are always ready to go.

11. Know when to stop tin­kering. When you are working on a cre­ative project, there isn’t often a dis­tinct point at which you know for sure you’re done; you have to make that call. Whether you are designing a room or cre­ating a painting, pho­to­graph or graphic, there are times when it will seem you could tinker for­ever. Try to notice the point at which you move from adding new, con­crete ideas to doing minor tin­kering, and take that as your cue to step away. Get out of the studio. Go out to dinner, watch a movie, eat some choco­late, sleep. Refuse to look at it again until the next day, at least.

Need ideas for your home or home office? Or ways to bring inspi­ra­tion into your everyday life? Clayton Gray Home sug­gests cre­ating a space to spark ideas, much the same way you create your bed­room space to invoke sleep. Vases. Nothing perks up a room like a beau­tiful vase filled with fresh flowers. A trip to the farmers market might also help clear that mental block. Pil­lows. Add com­fort to your work­place either in a reading chair, settee or window seat. Soft­ening the work­space will make those great ideas feel more wel­come into your head. Seating. Make the room inviting to others by adding an addi­tional chair, sofa or bench. You never know what cre­ativity will tran­spire from a social visit. Lighting. How else do you expect to have “bright” ideas?! Create the per­fect ambiance with desk or table lamps, sconces and chan­de­liers. Can­dles. As humans we are ruled by the sense of smell. Scents can trigger mem­o­ries and evoke a cre­ative mood. The desk. Make sure that you have enough work sur­face for your great ideas to sur­face. Clear off that space and make room for great ideas. Vision board. Some of us work best with mag­a­zine tear sheets, paint chips and fabric sam­ples scat­tered around. What­ever your medium of choice, have a board or space to hang your ideas so you can take a step back and see the big picture.

Do some­thing cre­ative every day — Clayton Gray Home.

1.The Intel­lec­tual Candle — Marie Todd  2. Vol­cano Candle  in mer­cury glass box  3. Sequin Heart Pillow  4.Sul­tana Pillow in char­coal 5.Flurry Frit Well Vases  6. Venus Porce­lain Vase  7. Farris Vase   8.Ham­mered Reflec­tions Table Lamp  9.Tulip Table Lamp  10.Henry Chan­de­lier  11.Gold Leafed Chan­de­lier  12.Lido Desk in black  13. Macallan Chair in white  14.Kennedy Occa­sional Chair in red

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