5 Easy Ways to Kickstart Your Creativity

The blank page looms. 📄

◾ The cursor blinks.

And blinks.

And blinks.

“STOP BLINKING!!”

◾ Nerves kick in.

Sweat beads (or is that just menopause?).

Nail biting commences.

Ugh! “Why, oh why, can’t I think of anything to write??”

Been there?

Side note. My son has a hard time writing, or so he thinks. As his ‘new teacher’, I’m encouraging him to let his thoughts flow as he writes, just as if he was speaking them out to a friend.

And to stop saying “I can’t!”

When we make the words, the screen, or the palette, an elevated enemy, we purposely put ourselves at the end of a double barrel shotgun. It’s a really hard place to win from.

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.”

The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath by Sylvia Plath

Get creativity flowing.

◾ So you know where I’m coming from then. You’ve stared down that blinking cursor yourself, or maybe it was a blank canvas or graphics app or songwriting sheet. Whatever it was,

the mojo just wasn’t there.

You weren’t on the upswing of a creative cycle.

The juices were not flowing.

◾ And oh, how we want those creative juices to flow! There’s nothing like the feeling of creating something from nothing, of moving to the rhythm of God’s heartbeat. Becoming one with the Creator Himself, and bringing His beautiful ideas to the earth is the honour of a son, of a daughter, of a creator.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”

—Genesis 1:1

◾ And to be honest, some of our livelihoods depend on it.

Yet, here we are.

Staring.

Sweating.

And probably eating.

◾ Well, I’ve got a couple of helpful little hints for you – a couple of easy and practical things I do when the going gets tough and nothing is coming out of the ol’ braino. Here’s to hoping these ideas help you out in a pinch and give you your creative flow back when you need it:

  • 1. Stop trying and go take a nap. For real. Just walk away! The best ideas I’ve ever had have come just as I’m drifting off to sleep or in a dream! Even if that doesn’t happen for you, the best thing you can do when nothing is flowing is to take a break, get some rest, and reapproach your project with a fresh mind and attitude. Just think about it. The best way to quiet a stinky attitude is to put it down for a nap, just like a little kid! Sometimes I’ve had to walk away from a project for a few days, go to something new, and come back to it. Other times it’s a quick nap or an overnight sleep. On your way to your bed, ask God for grace, refreshing, and new creative ideas. Remember, His mercies are new every morning!

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
    his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
    great is your faithfulness.”

Lamentations 3:22-23
  • 2. Go for a walk in nature. Get physical. Being creative is very cerebral. Unless you are dancing up a storm, you are more than likely huddled over a computer on a hard chair trying to consistently press out fresh and amazing content of some sort. It can be difficult. I’ve found that one of the best refreshers for new ideas is movement. Better yet, movement in nature where you can smell and see creativity all around you. Breathing in fresh air, moving the body around, and seeing new sites, is both invigorating and inspiring. Getting outdoors and walking might just trigger that idea you’ve been looking for better than anything else could! The worst thing that could happen is you’re going to get some exercise and fresh air – not a bad deal in my opinion! My go-to’s are taking forest-filled hikes, walking near water, and strolling to beautiful worship or classical music (get a Spotify account on your phone and hook it up to some headphones). There’s no better place to get creative flow happening then being immersed in God’s own creative expression. Have fun and breathe!
  • 3. Read a fiction novel. Drink in the words of literary giants. Let the written vision of a classic novel take you away to another time and place. Imagine the colours and people of faraway lands. Go somewhere new, somewhere fresh, somewhere alive in your mind. Consider another perspective. Another viewpoint. I personally love historical fiction. Anything good in this genre puts me in such a thoughtful mood, triggering my mind to start imagining again. Once the mind is unlocked to start envisioning the surroundings of the story, the characters, and the plotline, the mind is just that. Unlocked. Flow begets flow.
  • 4. Do a different type of creative endeavor. If you’re trying to write, bake. If you’re trying to draw, sing. When I can’t get anything very productive done on a project, my favorite thing to do is to doodle. I have these amazing Pigma Micron drawing pens and a pad of watercolor paper (although any paper and pen will do), and I just draw lines and circles with no rhyme or reason to them. It is so freeing! It’s like un-constipating the bung-up zone, if you know what I mean. It’s a great unblocking exercise and frankly, I just do it because I enjoy it and it helps with stress. If I’m stuck on a writing project I will also either worship/sing, play an instrument, make jewelry, bake, or puzzle (I’m currently going through a puzzle a week here just to let you know how it’s really going). Other ideas are knitting, planting, dancing, painting, hand-making, clay work, or journaling. There are so many amazing creative things to do that are easy, fun, affordable, and possible in quarantine. The easier the better and make sure it’s not anything like what you are feeling blocked on. Also, don’t turn this other creative endeavor into a project too and then get bunged up on that! Just let your mind wander and be free! Be a kid and have FUN!

“And, now that you don’t have to be perfect you can be good.”

East of Eden by John Steinbeck
  • 4.5 Scream.
  • 5. Check out what others are making. Peruse social media and the internet for inspiration. Instagram, art websites, virtual museums, armchair travel, Pinterest, poetry circles, are all great in moderate doses… get inspired! While COVID-19 continues to clobber us, now is the perfect time to travel over to Amsterdam to the Van Gogh Museum or to the Louvre in Paris for examples, all possible if you have access to the internet. Instagram is a personal favorite of mine. I’ve been so inspired by many artists, makers, and women entrepreneurs online. That being said the key here is moderation. By that I mean, don’t spend hours and hours scrolling only to get more depressed and blocked. Another issue to be wary of is comparison. Finding inspiration in other’s work is for, just that, inspiration. Don’t use it as a means to say that your work is crumby and you’ll never be as good as ‘so-and-so’. If that’s something you easily slip into, don’t even go there. Stick to virtual museums and galleries, or skip out on this one.
  • Have you ever read Steal Like an Artist? I read it ages ago but I remember it has some great freeing ideas on utilizing what others have created to inspire your own:

One last thing.

◾ This is technically number 6 on the list but then I’d have to change the name of this blog post and I don’t want to. Just let me sneak it in here —try a new brain-boosting creativity app such as the Brainsparker app (not sponsored). I just downloaded it on my phone for FREE and it seems to have some fantastic features on it. For example, one of the Brainsparker cards says: “What does this spark?” “Step into someone else’s shoes.”

Have you used it?

◾ What are your tried and true ways to kickstart creativity? Did you give one of mine a try? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you! And show me what you created while you’re at it!

“Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

Les Misérables by Victor Hugo

Tiffany x

Sky Hi’s

Sky hi’s. 👋🏻

✈ When I was little, I was a daydreamer. I used to think contrails in the sky were God zipping by to say “hi”. A check in of sorts. A trip of love to make sure we were all okay. We could sure use that today.

✈ Being little brought a freedom of mind that I can only remember in a glimpse. Like seeing the slight outline of a figure walking through a deep dark fog. Now my mind seems so cluttered. A soupy mess of thoughts, and worries, and constrictions that only seem to grow with age. Clearing the fog is a much more trying task than in yesteryears. It used to be so easy.

It was a typical ‘movie-scene’ — young girl lays back in lush green grass. Prairies abound just beyond view as clouds whisk by in the cerulean blue sky. A slight breeze, on cue, blows virgin blonde hair around a cherub face. Deep sapphire eyes turn towards the summer sky, gaze set on a tiny white airplane going by. A slight smile upturns on rosy full lips while her eyes gently close in thoughtfulness.

– from a movie yet to be made by me

✈ Sitting here at my dining room table, keyboard against fingertips, I close my eyes and I’m transported right back to that moment. The brain fog seems to lift easier now. Maybe my mind just needed a warm up, like an old hand-cranked jalopy (the thing about hand-cranks is that it takes a certain amount of physical effort to turn them; you need both strength and skill). To be honest, the last few months have nearly wiped that out of me, but I guess strength can be mustered and skill still remains. Peacefulness settles on me now.

✈ I could write a thousand books of poems that give homage to the beauty of a Saskatchewan childhood. There’s really nothing like a warm summer day on the prairies. To be carefree again like a 70’s-born girl in pig-tails, skipping her way to the corner-store with change in hand. There wasn’t much to think about other than what kind of candy you could get with a quarter or two. Would the day end in a neighborhood game of hide-and-seek or maybe kick-the-can before settling down to sleep with skin still warm from the sun?

“The past beats inside me like a second heart.”
― John Banville, The Sea

✈ Where were you born? How has it shaped who you are today? Are those memories engrained in your mind as years try to blot out the past? Is there one in particular that brings you peace in this crazy time? What do you see, smell, and and even taste as you go back in time? As you remember, be prepared for the difficulty, for the tears, for the joy, and for the longing, and that’s all right.

As you remember, be prepared for the difficulty, for the tears, for the joy, and for the longing, and that’s all right.

✈ I encourage you to write your memories down. Share them. Speak them out. Pass them down to your children, or relatives, or a friend. Write a poem, write a book, paint them out so others can enjoy them. Whatever you do, don’t let them die. If they touched your life and helped make you who you are, they may also touch another. The beauty of a moment can change the days of the future.

“Nothing is ever really lost to us as long as we remember it.”
― L.M. Montgomery, The Story Girl

Tiffany x