Wednesday, July 22, 2015

When the Hustle Overtakes your Inspiration

What happens when you're so busy working hard, being busy that you don't stop and smell the flowers? What's a girl to do when she's strung herself out on acrylic paint and blog posts? Honestly, the girl's to do nothing. She's to sit still and dedicate herself to some hard thinking. She's to remember the reason she got started in all this creating madness. She's to visit the places that make her heart patter. But sometimes the slowing part just isn't comfortable and is, in fact, stifling. So, she's got to find another way.

Creation comes from a deep and wide well in me. It's sort of ever-present, spewing ideas up up and out of me and I just go and do and work and be until suddenly the well has run dry and I'm tired from the fruitless efforts to fill it back up again. I've heard that the way to solve things such as this are to back away and make space or to forge forward until the creative bug strikes again.

Those are two approaches. I've tried each. Backing away leaves me itchy and irritable. Pushing forward exhausts and frustrates me. So I can't dedicate myself to do either with intensity. Instead, like life requires us to do, I have to find a method that works for me. I have to work out where the blockage is and then I've got to gradually chip away at it.

Sometimes this happens fast. Other times it seems nearly impossible, as though all my work at getting over this hump over uninspiredness is never going to happen.

Consumption in creativity is so important. But sometimes you've got to create out of a void. With all the things coming in we can be overwhelmed and chaotic. So turn on some calm jazz or nature sounds and just listen. Let the rhythm and the noises that aren't someone else's work their way through your soul. Something will come out on the other side.

In college I was Matt Nathanson's biggest fan. Some Mad Hope played best friend to me through countless finals and paper writing binges. I still to this day celebrate the smoky goodness that is his voice. When my own inspiration is waning, I return to him -often catching myself singing subconsciously along to every single mesmerizing lyric he croons. Find your "friend" and let him be important in the most dire of creative moments.

Art or otherwise, go through them. If you're not keeping a journal of some sort, start now. The ability to create art or words for yourself is underrated. But these sketches and practiced bits of your process can be breeding grounds for future efforts.

I know, this one's hard. But comparison is the most stifling sources of inadequacy when one's creativity is waning. I used to cruise through my Instagram feed for inspiration when I felt like my creativity was stopped up. This used to work, but with the opening of my shop, it's become a haunting playground of I'm not good enoughs. So, I put it away and am left to my own devices.

Get out of your space. I can hole myself up in my creative space for hours. In fact, one day a week I usually do. It's lovely to have a beautiful room in which ideas can begin and blossom. But it's also the same room where I drive myself crazy over the fact that things JUST AREN'T changing. Yes, the same place where I fall in love with one piece hosts the most discouraging thoughts my mind can muster. So walking comes in handy. Walking or running or stretching or anything that gets my muscles moving and my body free.

What are your tricks?
How do you inspire yourself when it just seems too hard to go on creating?


  1. Katie @ A Beautiful Little AdvJuly 22, 2015 at 7:16 AM

    I've been feeling the burn out in many areas of my life recently. Sometimes there just seems to be TOO MUCH of everything (maybe expecting a baby in t minus 8 weeks doesn't help hah) What works best for me is to unplug from social media and the internet and really remember what makes my heart sing. Also just writing privately and spending time with close friends and family. (all of which are included above)

  2. Unplugging from everything is so necessary but somehow, also very hard for me to do. Last night, I was listening to a guided meditation through headphones on YouTube and found myself picking up my phone and checking Facebook! WTF! I think one weekend in September, before baby comes, I am going on a no-social media weekend and seeing how it feels. I think that will help get my brain to calm down a bit!


  3. These are all such great tips! Going through an old journal is always helpful to me!

  4. These are all really great tips. I especially love the idea of going for a jog to get the blood and creative juices flowing!

  5. These are great tips! I like #5 especially – getting up and moving always seems to help me. Usually I force Andy to go for a walk with me and talk through whatever problem I'm having. Also wine seems to really get my creative juices (ba dum chhhhh) flowing...

  6. such a great post amber! it's important to remember to do what you need to do to feel relaxed and recharged! i've taken to's easy, satisfying but i'm still doing something!

    ps. i went to one of matt nathanson's shows in college and he told me i had nice eyes. i almost passed out.

  7. This is just BRILLIANT. The thing I need to back away from is always social media + reading blogs. And it *kills* me because that's how I cultivate friendships and connections with my online friends! Sometimes I find myself getting stuck in a cycle of comparison and research/learning without action. That's when I know I need to quiet the noise and spend some time with my journal.


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