Monday, 15 February 2010

Getting out of a Rut & Inspiring your Creativity

Artist and musician Scott Hansen had the great idea to ask 25 artists and creators, "What do you do to inspire your creativity when you find yourself in a rut?" Their answers provided some fascinating insight and tips. I've chosen some of them to share with you below.

Whilst the people at whom the question was posed are all creative professionals, creativity is something we all deal with. As busy mums, we try to provide creative play for our children, be creative in the kitchen, creative at work and in our minds, some of us do creative art and craft activities and others are creative outdoors; growing plants, vegetables and trying to be more self-sufficient and respectful of the environment.

New ideas and bursts of inspiration are invigorating, fun to put into practice and sometimes challenging. However, most of us at some point find ourselves slipping into easy habits and as time goes on, feel stuck in a rut. That's where these suggestions come in handy! Here are some of my favourites from Scott Hansen's list and my interpretations of how they can work for mums:

• I tend to say yes to more than I can do, and the fear of failure keeps the work flowing. Keeping busy and saying yes to activities, invites, visits etc can lead to some good ideas of things to try at home or with friends and family, as well as often being fun. Keeping busy also means less time to drift and feel unmotivated.

• Lots of reading and lots of sketching. Sketching might not be for everyone but even if you're not artistic, it's a good way to distract your mind and focus on something very different to the everyday. Reading keeps your mind stimulated, and depending on your choice of reading matter, can be instructive and inspirational. It's also a nice relaxing alternative to slumping in front of the TV in an evening!

• I try to take some time off if I feel a lack of inspiration. Time off can be as simple as an afternoon or a couple of hours to yourself while someone else looks after the children. Being removed from the day-to-day humdrum is an effective way to revive yourself in all aspects.

• I find it from a combination of sources; experimental music, mid century design/cinema, nature/wildlife, etc. To achieve full creative potential I must sit in the woods, watch Mad Men, and listen to Boards of Canada simultaneously. Getting out in nature, even if it's just your local park is a great way to clear the head. Enjoyable distractions are a necessary part of escaping the daily grind to help you relax and open your mind again.

• Clean my surroundings. I cannot think clearly when there’s a mess around me. I can't cook in a messy kitchen and I'm sure crafty types can't create on a desk piled with papers and rubbish. A clean slate is always a good start.

• Diversify your interests. It's easy to get locked in our comfort zone of doing the things we are used to doing and regularly enjoy. For whatever reason, many of us tend to stop trying new things but it's a great way to broaden our interests, meet new people and feel excited about something new.

• What always works the best for me is talking with my friends. They always have some new way of looking at problems that I never would have thought of, or a cool bit of inspiring artwork to show me, or just some words of encouragement that will get me moving again! I too find it helpful to talk with friends. Sharing ideas and getting their input can often be invaluable.

Do you use any of these suggestions when you feel in a bit of a rut? Are there other things you do in an effort to inspire your creativity? If you're a fellow-mummy blogger, how do you deal with writer's block?


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  1. You are good aren't you? Always finding these useful tidbits of information for us. Thanks for this one, will have a read through when I have a few minutes with a coffee.

  2. Interesting post. I started a blog to get me out of my creative rut! I am a textile artist and was feeling uninspired so I started a silversmith course to feed my creativity from a different angle - I thought the blog would help me reflect on what I was doing. It worked. Alas the course didn't have enough numbers this term so isn't running, but I feel that it definitely served its purpose.

  3. Different things work for different people - it's a long time since I've been in a creative rut, I tend to have the opposite problem at the moment - too many ideas, far too little time. I have come across a creative blog which I find really inspiring though at

  4. Thanks for your comments!

    itsamummyslife - glad you find the posts useful :-)

    Suzanne - really interesting to hear your perspective and the fact that you did a course as a way to inspire your creativity - great idea.

    Jude - I really like that blog you mentioned too. She creates some beautiful and quite imaginative things.


Thank you for reading. I'd love to have your comments and thoughts!