How to Stay Inspired and Motivated: 5 Tips for Creatives   

Is your creativity tap running dry? Keep the juices flowing with these five suggestions from our talent network.

They say “creativity knows no bounds” … or does it? We love the days when our imagination takes flight: words flow freely onto the page and designs fall into place perfectly. But what about the days when they don’t?  

If your creativity tap is running a little dry lately, you’re not alone. We asked our talent network to share their top tricks to stay inspired — here’s what they had to say, plus a few of our own ideas mixed in. Consider these suggestions to keep the juices flowing! 

Study and appreciate the work of others.

Making time to analyze other creative work — be it through reading, exploring hashtags on social, or visiting a museum — can help you discover new techniques, styles, and perspectives that enrich your own work.  

Jeff Cunnigham, a lifelong storyteller, writer, and editor in Hampton, Virginia, shared “To me, creativity is a lot like a bank account: every time I sit to create, I’m making a withdrawal. Reading, I’m making a deposit. Too many withdrawals without corresponding deposits, and I’m over drafting on myself.” 

Take time for yourself.

When we don’t take time for ourselves, our creativity suffers. Many creatives shared that they make time to enjoy hobbies completely unrelated to their work, such as exercise, daily meditation, travel, or stepping into nature.  

Kim Matthews, freelance editor and writer in Minneapolis, Minnesota, says “self-care enhances creative stamina, flexibility, and resilience — and the ability to solve problems as a result.”  

Jessica Befera, art manager at FCI Brands, says “sometimes great ideas and creative solutions come when we’re in rest mode.” She notes that conscious resting and rejuvenating is key, rather than “doomscrolling.”  

Find a creative community.

Creating by yourself can feel a bit lonely and boring. Consider immersing yourself in a network of people who are creating too! Explore Dribbble and Behance to get started. And when you’re ready, give Reddit a try — Reddit houses a large range of creative communities, where you can share your work, ask for feedback, and find inspiration.   

Maintain an idea log or design journal.

Don’t lose sight of the ideas that wake you up from sleep at 2 a.m., or the ideas that spontaneously pop into your head while you’re in the grocery line or sitting in traffic. Write them down in a dedicated log that you have easy, constant access to; we suggest a small notebook or a note tab on your smartphone. The action of writing down your ideas forces you to think more deeply about them. Then, when you’re in need of some inspiration, scroll back through your notes and see where your ideas take you.  

Dan Milbourne, a creative director and graphic designer in Philadelphia, PA, says he puts pen to paper before even washing the sleep out of his eyes. “I spend 10 minutes every morning drawing what comes to mind.” Noting that the outcome doesn’t matter, the pen just needs to move. Dan adds “Once it’s out, it’s out! Move on.” That’s his motto.  

Change your environment.

Is there a two-day old coffee mug pushed off to the side of your desk (we know, we do it too), trace crumbs kicking around under your keyboard from a “working lunch,” or a stack of old post-it notes that could probably get tossed? Clean it up!  An organized desk isn’t just visually pleasing; it’s also less of a distraction.  

Once your desk is tidy, consider sprucing up your space with inspiring elements that reflect your passions: a framed piece of your own artwork, an affirmation or quote that resonates with you, a photo from your favorite vacation, etc.  

And when the desk is clean and the vision boards are all hung, but you’re still not feeling inspired, consider taking a day to work somewhere new. Have you heard of the “Coffee Shop Effect”? Research suggests the background noise of clanking plates and the buzz of a coffee machine improves performance on creative tasks. So, if you were looking for permission to indulge in another Café au Lait, consider this it.  


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