How I help myself when I struggle with creativity sometimes... and why you do too.
As a creative, I’m usually inspired by so many things. Like, all of the things!!! I can be inspired by something as small as the decorations on a children’s shirt, the color of an eyeshadow look, a cartoon. My children laugh at me because there’s a rendition of “Baby Shark” where they have a grandma shark, and she has the cutest color lipstick on. (It was the perfect shade of purple). That made me go to my vanity and recreate the lipstick color. (I was gonna post a pic but I don't know if y'all even wanna see that.)
Creative During Quarantine
However, there are times when my creativity is taking a hit. This quarantine held a brief season where my creativity struggled a bit.
I’m currently a part of a writing group, I run a business, and am homeschooling and virtual learning with my children. So, creativity is extremely important! Here are 4 things to do when I can’t create.
Most times, my creativity takes a hit when I’m not well-rested. Usually, it’s because I’m either “burning the candle at both ends” or I’m mentally exhausted. I ask myself a few questions to determine which it is.
Who are the top 5 people in my text message log?
What were the last 5 phone calls you answered?
What deadlines are you facing, or what projects have you just completed? (I usually take a brain break between projects).
Asking myself these questions is usually what helps me to find the source of my exhaustion. Once I find the culprit, then I address it accordingly.
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I CANNOT create when my space is cluttered. Now, I’m a mom so I’m constantly doing laundry, cleaning up toys, washing dishes, etc. However, in order to create and keep my house in order so I can create, I have set a few parameters in place for my household. Here's what that looks like.
There is a kitchen schedule. This means that there are times when the kitchen is operable to cook things, and there is a time when it’s all shut down. In a black household, if that sink is clean AND dry, then the kitchen is closed, boo. That same thing rings true in my kitchen as well. However, even before that, I have the house set up so that the kids have a snack bin where they can get snacks, drinks, cookies, etc. These are items that do not have to be cooked. It’s something that’s pre-packaged and upon consumption, the container can be discarded so that washing dishes isn’t necessary. I got pushback from my teenager on this because she likes to experiment in my kitchen with new recipes, however, the rule remains. There are times to cook, and times not to. Once the kitchen has been cleaned, it’s closed. Kind of like a school cafeteria. (If you don’t have multiples, then you don’t have to worry about this as often.)
Sometimes my creativity takes a hit because my mind is cluttered. In events like this, I usually step away from the project (if I’m working on something) and I engage my mind in something that doesn’t require me to think past what I’m seeing. I LOVE to laugh so watching comedy shows is necessary for me. Sometimes, I’ll play board games with my children (that can go either way though because I have competitive children… I don't know where they got that from).
Get professional help
Please note, that some days just suck. There's no rhyme or reason - you just don't feel well. Your mental health is of the UTMOST importance! If you don't have a therapist, I would highly recommend getting one. There are so many ways to go about it. One of my favorite apps is Better Help. You simply create a profile that details all of your demographic information and they match you up with a therapist that is close to you. I know we can't really go out of the house to find therapists like we'd like to, but you can always do virtual sessions. And the best part is that they work with your income! This isn't a paid ad, BTW, I just really like to help and this app is REALLY good!
The holidays are coming up and often, some people resort to permanent measures for the discomfort of loneliness. If you're having feelings of severe depression, I would HIGHLY recommend having a hedge of people that you call or shoot a text to in a moment's notice. Develop a code word that you text to your circle of trusted friends (your hedge) and when they receive it, one of them can either call or get to you within minutes. Also, there are a lot of suicide hotlines that prepared to assist you. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour hotline with counselors that can assist you when you're at your lowest. If your feelings are consuming you, don't ignore that feeling. Talk to someone IMMEDIATELY. Creatives battle with suicide at alarming rates! You can call them at 800-273-8255, anytime - day or night.
Finally, I employ community. I call friends or family and talk to them. I especially love talking to my friends who are thought leaders on certain things. I’ve been blessed to have some brilliant friends in my life. Their fields of study are in various things from Men’s fashion and marketing to juvenile justice advocates to dancers to comedians to pastors… you get the point. It’s a wide range of people with different perspectives that help me filter my thoughts.
I also look to the creative community as well. One of my favorite things to watch is The Hollywood Reporter on YouTube. They have roundtable discussions with industry leaders that ALWAYS inspire me creatively. This is one of my favorite ways to reignite my creativity. I also like to look to influencers and even some controversial people for inspiration.
These are some of my favorite practices to keep my creativity flowing. What are some ways to keep your creativity flowing? I’d love to hear from you!
However you find your inspiration, I need you to find some and keep it on deck for moments when creative drought lurks on the horizon. M'kay?
Now... GO GET IT.
You can catch me in these internet streets on Instagram. (I'm not ready for Tik Tok yet... LOL).