Wednesday, April 23, 2008


What do you do when you're feeling stuck? (That's Flick from A Christmas Story in the photo... He manages to scream out, "stuck... stuck! STUCK!" when he realizes that his tongue is frozen to the flagpole.)

I think this is one of the greatest creative hurdles for any artist. I admit, I've been feeling uninspired myself.

I took a creativity course at work a few months ago, and at the end of the class, the instructor passed out little cards with these tips for boosting creativity:

  • Shift Perspective - Take a walk, visit a museum, try writing things with your non-dominant hand... that sort of thing. Take your mind off of your art for a moment. I find just taking a walk helps me reset myself.

  • Diversify Connections - Talk to artists who aren't dancers. Talk with people who aren't artists.... what do they have to offer your creative process?

  • Exploit Creative Moments - When you get an idea, pounce on it. Write it down. Leave a voicemail on your own phone as a reminder. Don't let your ideas get away from you. I bring notebooks with me everywhere for this very reason.

  • Challenge Assumptions - What are you assuming about your own art and expectations? What do you assume other people want to see from you? Is this hurting or helping your art? Identifying your assumptions about your art will hep you break out of your routine and spark new life into it.

  • Break Routine - Take a new route to work. Change your schedule a bit. Do something differently. We can easily fall into daily habits without realizing it, and these habits can stifle our creativity.

  • Capture Insights - If you hear something inspiring from someone else, write it down. There are insights all around us. I read several business and creativity blogs to keep my brain active and inspired. Sometimes you might hear something on the radio. Don't lose those nuggets of knowledge.

  • Take Risks - Sometimes we're afraid to try something new because of what others might think or say. Umm... screw that. Stay true to your convictions and take a risk! It's better to have tried and failed than to not have tried at all. It's true.

  • Persevere - In the face of adversity, naysayers, and your own self-doubt, don't give up when you do have a new idea.

I'd add one more: Take a break. This one sort of fits in with Shift Perspective, but I find that it helps me to not think about dance at all... and, more importantly, allow myself to not think about dance and to not feel guilty for not thinking about dance.

What do you do when you're feeling stuck?

1 comment:

Amber said...

I definitely agree that taking a break is part of shifting perspective. My knitting pattern design business was a main focus for me for many years. Now that I'm getting back into dance it's taken a new role in my life that is different, and allowing me to think differently and play with my ideas more. It's a very good thing.