Keeping the Creative Flow

   I recently rejuvenated my passion of traditional scrapbooking, and I have found I turn to my old sources of inspiration, including Ali Edwards, who I have admired for years.  I was excited by the newsletter she started regarding "Creative Lifts" which is a weekly subscription and chock full of ideas and resources.  If you aren't doing so all ready, you should def check it out.  Check out her blog post

   This week she dealt with the topic of how to keep creativty flowing and deal with creative blocks.  Being that I've done a number of creative activities for many years I am all too familiar with this struggle. And of course, its just when I actually have the free time or a "deadline" project, in which my creative blocks like to pop up.
   I used to really struggle with this and almost get down on myself when I couldn't come up with my normal, creative solutions.  Creativity generally comes extremely easy to me, and I'm held on somewhat of a pedestal in my social circle as the "creative one".  However, I found that esteem almost worked against me as pressure for some time.  There was a time a few years back where I had many creative "demands" and was pushing my limits as far as the number of projects I took on at once and the time I took to complete them.  Some were self-imposed, others were requests from family & friends.  Luckily, I went through a major life change, which ultimately led to postive growth within and affected all aspects of my life, including the creative one.

   In turn, I've come up with some of the ways I now deal with creative blocks and how I keep it flowing...

One....I don't force anything.  I've learned it just comes and goes like the wind, and I need to allow it to happen, but not get upset or feel "less than" when its not as easy or as brilliant, shall we say.  I probably have gone a week or two at a time without doing any creative project with my own hands.  In those times I ususallly turn to seeking inspiration through magazines, photography and surfing the net (Pinterest).  And sometimes I just need to sort of "veg out", watch some of my fav dvd episodes of Ally McBeal, eat some CheezIts, curl up in my favorite furry blanket and relax.  After doing that for a little, I find that I'm just dying to get up and do something more hands-on.  So basically, I "wait it out".

Two....I agree with Ali, in that I maintain multiple projects.  Because I have several interests, if scrapbooking is boring me, I go back to a sewing project or embroidery.  I keep a small binder which is tabbed with all of my interests, and I use to it jot down ideas, sketches, store magazine clippings or websites where I saw a neat idea.  I generally just have to glance through that to be reminded "Oh yea, I wanted to try this product or that technique", and I'm off again!

Three...I make something just for the heck of it!  A lot of my projects are structured in some way...With scrapbooking, its a way to maintain memories chronologically, other projects are made for gifts or decor items.  I find when I'm down on my creativity flow, I need to just let loose, get out a bunch of mediums and play around.  Make something unusual, or some type of craft I would've made as a kid.  A lot of times maybe it turns into something I can use a scrapbooking embellishment, a decor item, or I just set it on my desk to look at.  The challenge is a mental one, in not looking back & feeling as if I "wasted" valuable creative time for something that really had no purpose or destination.  If it keeps me going, then its all OK!

Robert Frost "Desert Places" quote 
Four....Probably not the best solution, but shopping helps me too.  Whether its for supplies or color inspiration, getting something new usually gets the creative juices flowing.  Especially if I place an order online, the anticipation of getting my new product helps build up my imagination of all the possibilities once I have it in hand!  If your on a budget, it works too, because my favorite place to find inspiration or get unusual supplies is the flea market and yard sales.  I get up early on a weekend, grab some coffee and go in search of treasure.
A serving tray I bought for $1 and turned into a chalkboard with some 
chalkboard paint. I call it "My Wall" (like that social networking site I don't use)
Five...the final thing that does help me (& Ali too) is getting organized.  Cleaning up.  Re-sorting. Literally just clearing the counterspace so I have a nice stark white surface...(I even use 409 to get it bright & shiny)  Just like she says, it helps clear the mind, clear the clutter and gives me a place to start fresh. 

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