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How-Tuesday: Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing

Jan 3, 2012

by alrdesign handmade and vintage goods

You’ve flipped the calendar to 2012 and opened to a fresh blank page in your sketchbook. Now what?

Are you feeling like you’re in a creative rut? Everyone gets stuck now and then, but when your livelihood requires creative output it can be truly devastating to hit one of these mental roadblocks. I know from personal experience: I’ve spent over 10 years running my own design and consulting firm, and a few years back I hit a wall. I was feeling completely uninspired, so the work I was producing for my clients and myself suffered as a result. What did I do to fix this situation? I decided to spend a year making skulls!

The Skull-A-Day project was a great long-term solution that has been giving back to me every since. Obviously everyone can’t drop what they’re doing and embark on a year-long path to get their creativity flowing again. Luckily, inspiration isn’t about waiting for your muse to show up – it’s about stoking the creative fires already within you. If often takes just a bit of lateral motion to change your perspective. Suddenly the ideas are flowing again.

So how do you get started? It’s really about committing to taking an action — any action — rather than just thinking about it. But that’s easier said than done, so here are six big ideas from my new book, Unstuck: 52 Ways to Get (and Keep) Your Creativity Flowing, at Home, at Work & in Your Studio.

  1. Let Go of Preciousness. One of the biggest creative stumbling blocks is our need to get things right. Believe me, I’m a perfectionist myself, so I know how hard it is to let that go. The reality is that treating your creations as precious little things to protect keeps you from the world of possibilities the comes from trying new things out, making mistakes, and getting things wrong.
  1. Freedom Comes From Limitations. If someone were to give me an infinite amount of time and an unlimited budget to create something, I would be frozen. It’s only from narrowing down the options that creativity becomes possible, as you are forced to push against the walls that close you in.
  1. Get Out of Your Environment. No matter how inspiring your workspace, there’s only so much creative work that can be done within it. Of course, if you’re in a place that’s not so inspiring to begin with, the need to be elsewhere is even more urgent. Since most people spend the majority of their time inside, they’re missing out on the much wider world right outside their door.
  1. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. At some point in your life, you’ve probably been told not to make a fool of yourself, but the fact is that it’s one of the most effective ways to get creative inspiration! Fear of rejection and fear of embarrassment: these are the recurring enemies of creativity.
  1. Get Things by Giving Them Away. It may sound counterintuitive, but you get a lot from giving things away. If I had kept my own project under wraps, rather than sharing it as I went along, I probably would have had a fraction of the positive experiences. The more I gave away, the more people gave back to me.
  1. Collaborate. There’s no substitute for the benefits you receive when working creatively with other people. Some of the best things that came out of my own project were the friendships that blossomed from incorporating other people into my work. You get results that are exponentially greater when you don’t work alone.

So now it’s time to put a few of these ideas into practice. Here’s a project that you can try out today.

Meal Emotions:

Mealtimes are one of my favorite times for creative inspiration. Generally you’re away from your usual environment and you have pliable, interesting materials in front of you. This project was developed with a group of my fellow designers when we met up for lunch and wanted to do something other than chatting about our usual work woes.

How to do it:

1. Write out a list of emotions on slips of paper and put them in a small bag. Keep them in your pocket, purse, or backpack so you have them when the moment is right.

Suggestions: Silly, gregarious, maudlin, depressed, ecstatic, delighted, bemused, miffed, blissful, enraged, enraptured, expectant, surprised, quizzical, terrified, alarmed, despondent, resigned, bewildered, astounded, satisfied, unsatisfied,  excited, curious, anxious…

2. After you eat, choose one of the emotions from the bag.

3. Using only leftover food and other items on the table, create a face that shows the randomly selected emotion.

4. Take a photo so you can share the results, since this will be a purely temporary creation.

By Noah Scalin.

Bonus: If you do this at a restaurant, consider leaving the face as a surprise for the server. If you’ve made a big mess in the process, definitely clean up as much as you can and leave a nice tip!

Option: Invite a group to do this project with you. It’s fun to see how different people work with similar materials. Keep the emotion secret and then take turns guessing what each face represents!

Alternative: Instead of emotions, write out a list of animals or objects and use them instead.

Be sure to share the results if you give this a try! And definitely stop by Make Something 365 to find a ton of inspiring projects, as well as advice on getting unstuck from other creative professionals.

More Things to Make | Online Lab With Noah Scalin

2 Featured Comments

  • slathered

    slathered said 5 years ago Featured

    #5 -- "Get things by giving them away" -- is so spot-on. When I was first toying with the idea of starting my own business, I looked for help. And it was hard to find. Lots of people viewed me as a potential rival. Luckily, through a metalsmithing class, I found a great group of women who meet once a month to do nothing BUT share -- techniques, what they're working on, etc. I've really grown because of this group, plus made a number of friends. There's no rivalry, only support and empowerment. Sharing what I do has only opened doors for me.

  • Melindamilkshake

    Melindamilkshake said 5 years ago Featured

    What a wonderfully inspiring piece! So much of this is common sense, and that's what makes it wonderful. We get so caught up in thinking of creativity and art as something magical (which to a certain extent it is) that we forget it is also a commitment that involves our everyday world. When we are once again reminded that materials and objects we have at hand, the people we love and admire, the world outside our door is all a a part of the creative energy that makes up ourselves then we realize that inspiration is not something elusive which we sit around and wait for. Inspiration is something we are, do, and can reach out and grasp. Most often the only thing holding us back is our way of thinking and seeing. Thank you !


  • BanglewoodSupplies

    BanglewoodSupplies said 5 years ago

    I really really needed this. Thanks!

  • TheBloomingThread

    TheBloomingThread said 5 years ago really deciding what to commit to doing creatively this year (even tho im 3 days late! haha) but playing with my food could be a good one! and ofcourse, putitng these points into practice. precisioness is my #1 enemy for creativity-blocking, and im ready to kick it's butt! ♥

  • FreakyPeas

    FreakyPeas said 5 years ago

    I would like to try this with my kids! An interesting and fun art project.

  • worksofwhimsy

    worksofwhimsy said 5 years ago

    I had an advertising copywriting teacher once who recommended "shaking up your life" at least once a week. Just doing something differently, like brushing your teeth with a different hand or switching sides of the bed, will give your brain and your creativity a little jolt.

  • MissHildebrandt

    MissHildebrandt said 5 years ago

    Do all that you can to put 'create something beautiful' on your TODO list.

  • VintageEye

    VintageEye said 5 years ago

    This really takes creative cookery to the next level!

  • Thelittleblackbooks

    Thelittleblackbooks said 5 years ago

    Haha, I arranged the left overs from my meal in a restaurant into a bemused face just a few days ago. I did it with the intention of making the waitress smile, and I'm glad to see that it wasn't such a silly idea!

  • jfazzone

    jfazzone said 5 years ago

    Great advice! Whether we're feeling stuck in a rut or not, it's always a good idea to alter or expand the way we look at and interpret the world around us. It can only do us good - and as Noah has shown us, it can be a lot of fun, too!

  • gizmofiberarts

    gizmofiberarts said 5 years ago

    Getting out of my comfort zone always works for me, and I learn so much by doing that. Learning is always inspiring too. Thanks for the great advice and inspiring story.

  • BelleReveDesigns

    BelleReveDesigns said 5 years ago

    This made me smile, Thanks!

  • packmatthews

    packmatthews said 5 years ago

    Such great creative nutrition! There's a great article in today's suggestions for keeping the creative juices pumping.

  • TwinkleStarCrafts

    TwinkleStarCrafts said 5 years ago

    The idea of working toward perfection just out of the gate is something that many people struggle with. In college, I had a professor who told me when typing term papers to simply write anything related to the subject even if it didn't make total sense because it was easier to 'edit crap into something that is sensible and logical rather than trying to achieve brilliance as I type.' That was great advice as technically, there is no such thing as 'wrong' when you are working on a first draft of anything. The same principle applies when working to get out of a creative dead zone. Just keep at it and don't worry!

  • KKSimpleRegalJewelry

    KKSimpleRegalJewelry said 5 years ago

    That sounds like a really interesting book. Good advice! ~Krista

  • thecraftpantry

    thecraftpantry said 5 years ago

    Ahhhh, I needed this. Many thanks!

  • Lynnaddison

    Lynnaddison said 5 years ago

    This is exactly what I needed to see today.. thanks for your insight and your push. The bit about perfection really hit a chord with me. Thank you. Thank you.

  • earthnskystudio

    earthnskystudio said 5 years ago

    Love these suggestions! Just what I needed today! Thanks! ^_^

  • RedorGrayArt

    RedorGrayArt said 5 years ago

    thanks Noah always have great "food for thought" :)

  • MegansMenagerie

    MegansMenagerie said 5 years ago

    Love this!!! Thanks for sharing =)

  • calloohcallay

    calloohcallay said 5 years ago

    Fun ideas--I like any excuse to play with my food. (Just a note for language purists: bemused means confused or puzzled; it's not a synonym for amused.)

  • LavenderField

    LavenderField said 5 years ago

    Freedom Comes From Limitations: I say scarcity feeds your creativity (it does mine). Nevertheless I love abundance and having lots of options.

  • thevicagirl

    thevicagirl said 5 years ago

    I had an architecture teacher who use to photograph his food, thinking it showed the meaning of a place very well. His photos would have been much more fun had they been smiling at us. I love the idea! I may start doing it just for fun.

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    mattyhandmadecrafts said 5 years ago

    Great! Thanks for sharing!

  • donnakallner

    donnakallner said 5 years ago

    I eat this stuff up, Noah. Great post -- thanks!

  • slathered

    slathered said 5 years ago Featured

    #5 -- "Get things by giving them away" -- is so spot-on. When I was first toying with the idea of starting my own business, I looked for help. And it was hard to find. Lots of people viewed me as a potential rival. Luckily, through a metalsmithing class, I found a great group of women who meet once a month to do nothing BUT share -- techniques, what they're working on, etc. I've really grown because of this group, plus made a number of friends. There's no rivalry, only support and empowerment. Sharing what I do has only opened doors for me.

  • belight

    belight said 5 years ago

    love your energy...thanks for sharing!

  • accentonvintage

    accentonvintage said 5 years ago

    Very inspiring article for the new year!

  • cenirestardust

    cenirestardust said 5 years ago

    Great post! I've definitely been feeling rather "stuck" for the last week or so!

  • PruAtelier

    PruAtelier said 5 years ago

    Good article with some really practical advice! Here are my ways to inspire creativity again: 1. Talk a walk outdoors and look at the colors, sights, sounds of nature. 2. Take off the shelf some artsy books/magazines you have purchased in the past and look at what inspired you to buy them for ideas. 3. Go to your nearest beautiful/inspiring shop - preferably brick and mortar with second choice being an online shop - and look at some inspiring eye candy. 4. Have a relaxing bath with a good dose of Lavender so your mind can drift to another place. 5. Take a vacation if you can or just go visit a friend and look at their collection of artsy books/magazines, etc. 6. Take a run to Barnes and Noble and peruse the books and magazines that you love to look through. 7. If close enough, take a trip to NYC and do Soho, Boho, etc., as I can pretty much attest to some serious inspiration after my trips!

  • AlisaDesign

    AlisaDesign said 5 years ago

    Cool! Great article!

  • idiosink

    idiosink said 5 years ago

    Great ideas! I love your 'skull a day' concept and I'm trying to think of something similar that I can keep a diary of. I also run a design/consulting business along side my etsy shop and so I try to bounce them off each other to keep my creativity up. When I get 'the block' I go out for a walk in the beautiful surrounding countryside or do something completely different - sometimes ideas come from the least expected activities!

  • myvintagecrush

    myvintagecrush said 5 years ago

    :D Great post!

  • pwaknits

    pwaknits said 5 years ago

    love the meal emotions idea! right up my alley... cheers!

  • RetroRevivalBoutique

    RetroRevivalBoutique said 5 years ago

    Great advice! :)

  • vintagejane

    vintagejane said 5 years ago

    Great motivation...thanks for getting us in gear for 2012!

  • ThomasHaskettArtist

    ThomasHaskettArtist said 5 years ago

    Excellent piece, thanks for sharing :)

  • pouch

    pouch said 5 years ago

    this time of the year is the worst, the weather is so grim in the UK at the moment...roll on Spring is all I can say, my creativity always picks up then!

  • tchaubella

    tchaubella said 5 years ago

    Love it! haha

  • gilstrapdesigns

    gilstrapdesigns said 5 years ago

    I'm feeling a little stuck right now as what to create next but I'm learning to just let it happen don't think so hard about it just start to create and see what happens and it usually turns out better than I could have ever expected! This article came at the right time. Thank you!

  • jackandjillwedding

    jackandjillwedding said 5 years ago

    Refreshing advice for getting started in the new year, thanks Noah!

  • LittleRedRory

    LittleRedRory said 5 years ago

    SWEET!!! As a former professional chef, I'm always one to play with my leftovers.. I'm in complete love with the idea of carrying around a little satchel of words to challenge myself and my surrounding peeps with. Also, such a perfect post to begin the year with.. inspiration comes from all sorts of places.. it's just that sometimes you have to go out and look under rocks.

  • baconsquarefarm

    baconsquarefarm said 5 years ago

    Exactly what I needed to read today~ Thank you.


    FAIRYTALE13 said 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing - I try to get out to galleries as much as possible - always is up-lifting to be around real art x

  • myfunbeads

    myfunbeads said 5 years ago

    It seems like the ideas were pouring out of somewhere a month ago. I guess they are all out and I am stuck as well. Went to a bookstore, looked through many random books and magazines,watched people doing the same and my brain started spinning. Slowly, but it spanned. Thanks for your great ideas!

  • TypothecaryPress

    TypothecaryPress said 5 years ago

    Great ideas! Thanks so much for the timely information!

  • grandmamarievintage

    grandmamarievintage said 5 years ago

    Great tips that I'm definitely going to think about and try to do! So many resolutions to stick to!

  • ChrissiesRibbons

    ChrissiesRibbons said 5 years ago

    ooooh, I too needed this! Thank you :)

  • SpiritedWoodland

    SpiritedWoodland said 5 years ago

    Brilliant piece - fun, inspiring - one of the best blog posts in a while!

  • Mclovebuddy

    Mclovebuddy said 5 years ago

    this is adorable, practical and doable. thanks for sharing such fun.


    SISTERBATIK said 5 years ago

    Great - needed this and going to Tweeyt it : )

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat said 5 years ago

    It's disappointing how many articles on Etsy these days are blatent plugs for someone's book or blog. So my question is this: if I write a book, how much will it cost me to get it advertised to such a targetted audience?

  • lindaalfred2000

    lindaalfred2000 said 5 years ago

    Very cute, it makes me want to go there.

  • TheTinyFig

    TheTinyFig said 5 years ago

    Haha funny

  • athinasWing

    athinasWing said 5 years ago

    I too, really need this. I have hit a creative block, just like a writer, and can't do a thing. Thanks for the post :)

  • lainedesign

    lainedesign said 5 years ago

    Each of your six points was a lightbulb moment for me. Thank you for sharing and congrats on your new book!

  • Iammie

    Iammie said 5 years ago

    Thanks for the tips!

  • LittleWrenPottery

    LittleWrenPottery said 5 years ago

    Great tips, I often find experiencing other cultures inspiring - it helps to change your perspective of how to view the world in a short space of time. Great tips.

  • PolClary

    PolClary said 5 years ago

    Lovely ideas. For me, switching crafts helps sometimes. Also, sometimes I just place the material I want to work with on the table for a day. Every time I walk past it, the idea of what I want to do with it will grow a little more, until I'm sure what I want to do with it.

  • talktothesun

    talktothesun said 5 years ago

    great tips. thanks for the tips! sharing ideas always flees me from something i glued with and move my mind to another as to view things from different perspective.

  • ThomasHaskettArtist

    ThomasHaskettArtist said 5 years ago

    Great ideas, thank you :)

  • shellsherree

    shellsherree said 5 years ago

    These are all wonderful tips. Allowing myself to have some 'stuff-ups' and narrowing down options {even if just temporarily - capture those notions that flit in and out but remind myself I don't have to try them all Now!} are especially meaningful to me. Thanks so much, Noah.

  • BmadeNEW

    BmadeNEW said 5 years ago

    Thank you for these great 6 tips. I want to add one you alluded to by your skull-a-day journey. Forgive me if i'm being somehow redundant, but i think the tip is to find something to devote to and stay put because there are worlds inside of worlds. I think the very best artists work from an at least partial awareness of how crucial it is to circle round and round and round the tiniest thing....or a child, the sky, some image that dogs them etc. I think the greatest artists are ultra humble!!!....they stay close to the desperation of remaining connected to the essences that drive them....i think the best artists are not afraid of ANYTHING so much as losing a focus derived from an almost constant commitment to whatever they're intimately SEEING...

  • ericawalker

    ericawalker said 5 years ago

    "Let go of preciousness", a valuable piece of advice for many of us. I think it's especially important to allow ourselves the time to "play" at our craft. It's something I need to be reminded of anyway... Thanks for this good and fun advice.

  • mssartwork

    mssartwork said 5 years ago

    When I was stuck in an artist rut with my painting, I was discussing my motivation problems with another artist who suggested taking a simple 2D object with minimal color and painting that. So I taped a (not quite 2D but simple) black and white pen to the wall and went to work. It worked! And to put a cherry on top of my new motivational sundae, this piece was the first to sell on my Etsy shop! This goes along with "Let go of preciousness".

  • CreativeCardsForYou

    CreativeCardsForYou said 5 years ago

    This really made me smile. :) Great idea!

  • giorgiejewelry

    giorgiejewelry said 5 years ago

    Thank you for the great article!

  • Elegant7655

    Elegant7655 said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article. Thank you, for sharing . I've been stuck in a rut with my designing since Christmas. And I thought I was the only one this happened to until I read this article.

  • RubyMarilyn

    RubyMarilyn said 5 years ago

    I found your blog a couple weeks before the new year and was completely inspired to start my own 365 project. A Necklace a Day is up and running on the blog : )

  • MamandSirs

    MamandSirs said 5 years ago

    Thank you! Ruts are no fun but there is a light at the end of the tunnel

  • Attractive1

    Attractive1 said 5 years ago

    Good advises! And very professional! Happy New Muse!

  • lepetitoisillon

    lepetitoisillon said 5 years ago

    Great tips - thank you! Just what I needed on this rainy, sneezy day in Manchester!

  • VintageAndSupply

    VintageAndSupply said 5 years ago

    Super Awesome! Thanks, I will love to try this out! always love some food "art" I can't help but be inspired when I scroll through all the gorgeous & creative items on Etsy!

  • beadsofaquarius

    beadsofaquarius said 5 years ago

    Love this! thank you for sharing! :)

  • suddenlysharon

    suddenlysharon said 5 years ago

    To bad we couldn't spread this further than just to artists. I think this would benefit people in difficult situations or people that have been out of work for a while or people that are just in a plain old rut. Just doing something (actual movement) will get people going the the creative juices flowing. It not only puts their body in movement but their brain has to think also. Wonderful article. I wonder if this would be a benefit to our government. OhOh., thinking out loud again.

  • MaidenJane

    MaidenJane said 5 years ago

    I'm so excited about the new year. My head is buzzing with ideas, but I am really jazzed about some collaborations I am working on. It is truly a way to get the creative juices flowing again!

  • DogPawDesigns

    DogPawDesigns said 5 years ago

    Awesome... thanks for the tips. I often get stuck being very perfectionistic which turns into frustration very quickly (and that just makes it worse). I’ll definitely take your advice on getting out and not worrying to much about getting everything obsessively perfect.

  • turpentinepress

    turpentinepress said 5 years ago

    Great stuff. Thanks!

  • KSDluxe

    KSDluxe said 5 years ago

    Great advice...I need to jump in with both feet & squash the perfectionist in me. Excited about the new year.

  • rfkrocklk

    rfkrocklk said 5 years ago

    Thanks a ton! Great article. It's always good to get a reminder that sharing is productive. I love giving things away and sharing ideas but sometimes it's easy to feel like it might make all your efforts less worth the money to people because they know you love to give. And when everyone needs to make the bucks to survive it can have one second guessing on sharing. Very positive:)

  • CopperheadCreations

    CopperheadCreations said 5 years ago

    Such great advice, especially for perfectionists! If we don't learn how to wrangle ourselves, we're doomed.

  • KayAdams

    KayAdams said 5 years ago

    Always great -- thanks Noah!

  • gayleprice

    gayleprice said 5 years ago

    Awesome! I'm struggling from the opposite problem, too much inspiration but too little time and focus! Working on that this year! But, I know I will get stuck and I'll remember back to this. Also, the food faces is a great way to entertain and inspire little people, I might try this next time we're in restaurant meltdown mode!

  • baileycrq

    baileycrq said 5 years ago

    Thanks for sharing all your wonderful tips. Each one struck a chord. I love the idea of the emotions illustrated with leftovers- I just need to work on my obsession with clearing my plate! My figure will thank me!

  • CrimeanPalais

    CrimeanPalais said 5 years ago

    Hej Noah ! I followed the link to, but when I clicked on "buy online" a popup came, where I had to put in my ZIP. NO WAY to get the book, if you dont have an US-ZIP-code. Seems this is for US-citizens only...ha ha ha...

  • AshleySpiller

    AshleySpiller said 5 years ago

    Thanks for the tips. It seems allot of people get stuck this time of year me included. The only thing that ever seems to get me out of a rut is CLEANSE, CLEANSE, CLEANSE. I clean the house, go though everything I have collected for the past year and give what I can to a local charity and put the rest in a box in my closet labeled "Stuff to Make Stuff With". Once the house is spotless and I have baked my great grandmothers sugar cookies it seems the light switches back on. Thanks for the great article.

  • LiseVintageLighting

    LiseVintageLighting said 5 years ago

    Great tips and motivation for the new year. Especially meaningful to me were your thoughts on perfectionism, as well as getting out of the workshop at least occasionally for inspirational breaks. And you are so right about sharing--it can take so many forms and is so good for the soul. Thanks for the great ideas. Happy New Year everyone!

  • HouseOfRooster

    HouseOfRooster said 5 years ago

    I've been told before that anything you do for five days will soon become a habit. Do something new every five days, and you'll be building a lot of great habits!

  • BlackWillowSoaps

    BlackWillowSoaps said 5 years ago

    Freedom comes from true. I have been writing a novel for over three years now and I am still on the third chapter! I definitely need to set a deadline. Thank you!

  • springdreamer

    springdreamer said 5 years ago

    The perfectionism struck a chord with me too!..............sometimes, I can visualize the object, begin working on it and it doesn't turn out the way I anticipated!!!!! - I usually have several projects going on at the same time so I do fall back on the tried and true and maybe come back to that one project that's keeping me from completing it!!!!!! - I've always worked best with a deadline...........I'm finding out that the creative, self-employed market, noone will set that deadline for you unless it it you!!!! - Sometimes difficult to make it happen!!!

  • tableclothpad

    tableclothpad said 5 years ago

    I like your idea is to good.

  • desiderium

    desiderium said 5 years ago

    Oh how timely! An encouraging word for a gray day in Nashville! I am turning the corner on post holiday blues - and finding that getting those nagging chores out of the way helps my brain to start creating away! Thank you Noah for the reminder to not give up, just try something new! We are going to play with our food tonight at dinner.

  • mailelei2010

    mailelei2010 said 5 years ago

    Very nice! I enjoyed this article especially when I have no inspiration to create. Being stuck in a block takes more of my reserve left over to just play around and not being too stiff about perfectionism.


    CANADIANCREATIONZ said 5 years ago

    Great advice thank-you! This time of year tends to become very humdrum for everyone.

  • RainyPenguinVintage

    RainyPenguinVintage said 5 years ago

    Very cool! I discovered your Unstuck blog and book last week when I started my own 365 blog at I plan to make something every single day this year, which is very scary. I can't wait to look to you for inspiration this year!

  • LoveButtons

    LoveButtons said 5 years ago

    Great article. I agree totally that experimentation and play are essential ingredients for creativity!

  • beautifuldetailswed

    beautifuldetailswed said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article! Didn't even realize we were being creative at the time but my husband and I did this at Outback one weekend. I created a pig's snout from a leftover loaf of bread and my husband placed it over his nose. Funniest photo ever! We were expressing that we felt like pigs we ate so much! I guess we need to start doing this more often when we eat out. Thanks for the post!

  • AlpineGypsy

    AlpineGypsy said 5 years ago

    I really like folks who take the time to help others think outside the box. We all get stuck, and sometimes all you need is a fresh perspective. Trying something out of the ordinary, and outside your 'habits' can really be effective. I also really liked the earlier suggestion by someone else (apologies, the name escapes me right this second) to try ink blot drawings. I think it must activate brain chemicals or something, seeing such graphic triggers. Artists respond to all sorts of things that we're not aware of, so I really appreciate all these weird tips. Cheers! Heidi

  • deepindigo

    deepindigo said 5 years ago

    Excelent! Thank you for these tips!

  • graciousliving1234

    graciousliving1234 said 5 years ago

    Thanks for helping those of us who are stuck. Have been feeling traped. But lately something has changed. I think I am ready to have a growth spurt. Your candid piont of view has expressed what I felt . But could not realize to myself. And then there it is. Words to inspire. Thanks your awesome ! Graciously yours Karen.

  • Melindamilkshake

    Melindamilkshake said 5 years ago Featured

    What a wonderfully inspiring piece! So much of this is common sense, and that's what makes it wonderful. We get so caught up in thinking of creativity and art as something magical (which to a certain extent it is) that we forget it is also a commitment that involves our everyday world. When we are once again reminded that materials and objects we have at hand, the people we love and admire, the world outside our door is all a a part of the creative energy that makes up ourselves then we realize that inspiration is not something elusive which we sit around and wait for. Inspiration is something we are, do, and can reach out and grasp. Most often the only thing holding us back is our way of thinking and seeing. Thank you !

  • RescuedRemnants

    RescuedRemnants said 5 years ago

    Just what the doctor ordered. Thanks for sharing this Noah! Happy New Year.

  • piahathaikan

    piahathaikan said 5 years ago

    Great ,thank you for your sharing. :)

  • piahathaikan

    piahathaikan said 5 years ago

    Great, thank you for sharing :)

  • totocorde

    totocorde said 5 years ago

    Love this article! Thank you for sharing. Well,,, what shall I do next??? You are inspiring!

  • OnTheRoadVintage

    OnTheRoadVintage said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article-thanks!

  • starlightwoods

    starlightwoods said 5 years ago

    Great article. I am sure I will be using some of these tips! My children will love the food tip :)

  • UniverSoulWear

    UniverSoulWear said 5 years ago

    This is so GREAT! I really needed to read this! Looking forward to some much needed inspiration for my new creations! lol :) <3

  • SwankUnderpinnings

    SwankUnderpinnings said 5 years ago

    LOVE those top 6. Thanks so much for sharing! Sometimes it's the little things you already know that you just need hear again and actually DO. Thanks for kick in pants ; )

  • archivioGotico

    archivioGotico said 5 years ago

    For school dinners in the sombre 70s we always had stew and mashed potatoes. I hate stew and the mashed potato was definitely not very natural so I made romantic seascapes out of them. Mashed potato cliffs on a stormy sea of gravy (impossible to do at home). Fun but not very nourishing! I'm a bit stuck at the moment but that's because I want to do too much in too little time. Don't do that. Thanks for the advice though ;-))))

  • KnotUgly

    KnotUgly said 5 years ago

    My friend Jena Coray are offering an e-course that starts in March which is intended for creatives and is all about making a change in your life to getting unstuck. It's called the Catalyst. More here: and here:

  • ChymeraArtisan

    ChymeraArtisan said 5 years ago

    Perfect timing! I needed this...thank you!!

  • PurpleToedGypsy

    PurpleToedGypsy said 5 years ago

    really great advice! You are right, these are all wonderful ways to stimulate your own creativity! How how about a post on managing all the million ideas that i can never act on!? :)

  • beadelight

    beadelight said 5 years ago

    Great advice! Very helpful to me. Reminds me of a Julie Andrews quote I read once about limitations: she said something like they leave her "free to fly." As both a musician and (more recently) a jewelry artist, that really speaks to me. Give me a set of parameters, and watch the ideas fly!

  • sewcutebydesign

    sewcutebydesign said 5 years ago

    Love these suggestions, really great advice!

  • claudinescalling

    claudinescalling said 5 years ago

    Your number one tip - is MY number one challenge. I have to be willing to put some pathetic sketches in the new sketchbook. My latest trick has been to play more with cheap materials before I do a final project. Playing with a "this isn't serious" attitude helps me.

  • ColleenAttaraStudio

    ColleenAttaraStudio said 5 years ago

    Thank you Noah! I love best how you said that "freedom comes from limitations". I love the self imposed daily deadline. Clever and needed. Colleen

  • SimplyInvitingCards

    SimplyInvitingCards said 5 years ago

    What a great read, and I completely agree with getting out of your environment, too! There's a locally-owned restaurant my husband and I like to frequent. Each of their tables is covered with a large sheet of brown kraft paper furnished with a glass of 4 crayons. I find that some of my favorite sketches and doodles happen on that table while we chat away, waiting for our meals. My husband was pretty shy at first about creating art in public, but I've noticed how much his eye has gradually progressed as he engages in this activity. Would he draw or sketch anywhere else? No. Not even at home. This doodle on the table activity has become part of our meal experience at the restaurant.

  • TheDopelerEffect

    TheDopelerEffect said 5 years ago

    This is such a fun idea! And the skull-a-day project is amazing too!

  • saraink

    saraink said 5 years ago

    Wonderful article! I love the tips and will use some of them today! Thank you!

  • conmismanos

    conmismanos said 5 years ago

    Yep, when I am in a rut, I march around the room and out the door singing "rut, rut, rut rut"! I laugh at myself and go for a walk. The creative juices my not flow but atleast I got out. I also carry a note pad to scibble things or a design on. That's it!

  • DesignsbyHarriet

    DesignsbyHarriet said 5 years ago

    I've given away so much of my jewelry that I wonder if that is my business model, make it and give it away. No results, no positive feedback, no sales, no views resulted in these numerous giveaways. All I have to show for it is less jewelry.

  • Hanzamaeda

    Hanzamaeda said 5 years ago

    Thanks for your article. I like the meal emotions or animals with food project. Can't wait to share it with friendz and family.

  • MABmonaadisabrooks

    MABmonaadisabrooks said 5 years ago

    Since forever I have lived by this statement: ' We have no art.' say the Balinese, 'We just do everything the best we can.' I am grateful to have my work work me.

  • owlclaycreations

    owlclaycreations said 5 years ago

    I keep giving my jewelry away, and still am not selling anything. boo hoo boo hoo. oh and whaaaaaaa.

  • owlclaycreations

    owlclaycreations said 5 years ago

    I have given so much away, and oh how everyone just lovesssssss the piece whatever it may be, So if it is so fantastic why am i not selling any.??? could it be because it is not free?

  • recycledwares

    recycledwares said 5 years ago

    Great article. Thanks for sharing the 6 tips with us. #1 and #2 really struck a chord with me - I think those will be the hardest to follow for me, but I'll try :)

  • yankeerose

    yankeerose said 5 years ago

    Perfect timing! I was just toying around with some ideas and this has given me the extra push I needed to go ahead with them! Thanks for the great post!

  • kaeojewelry

    kaeojewelry said 5 years ago

    I too have been giving lot's of jewelry to friends, co-workers and family and still not doing well. I only sold one item last year. Thanks for the tips... I will keep trying over and over again...

  • Aspyre

    Aspyre said 5 years ago

    Love this! Using creativity to inspire more creativity. In times when I hit a wall with illustration and with business, I try to just jump in, start working on something, anything - a sketch usually - and see what evolves from it. More often than not, it's something I'm mildly proud of, and then it inspires me to think, "Ok, now how can I create an even better version of this, or use this style to create something else?" Thanks for sharing - Cheers!

  • cvjewels

    cvjewels said 5 years ago

    Great ideas! Love it!!! Here's to a great New Year!

  • CopusHagenDesigns

    CopusHagenDesigns said 5 years ago


  • RenataUniqueGifts

    RenataUniqueGifts said 5 years ago

    I agree with a few Etsy members. Giving away isn't working too well. When I give away ( happily) then it looks like people wait to get more free, and do not buy. Or, when they do not get free things, they point out that "the others" got something as a gift. Our creations are not mass production, and I am not really happy to give and give, and give - with almost no sales. Any logic here? Thank you for all reminders!

  • AzaferraJewelry

    AzaferraJewelry said 5 years ago

    Waiting for the muse has been my particular hangup! Its true that being out and around other people and things is part of the creative juice!

  • MsFoodie

    MsFoodie said 5 years ago

    hhmmmmm....I'm Hungry :o)

  • oui2reveille

    oui2reveille said 5 years ago

    Thank you for your post! It is true, that when you love doing something, chances aee someone else will, also. If you can't give a "thing" away, give instruction away. No two things will come out the same anyway. How in the world would we have ever learned anything if some one were not willing to teach us?

  • sandrassatchels

    sandrassatchels said 5 years ago

    Thank you. You caught me right there. Yesterday, I simply wanted to create something new. There is something my customers have been asking for at the Pike Place Market and I am researching and playing with the idea. It feels so good to get lost in that process. That creative place is the place of "eternity" for me. I have no worries, no time frame. Brings me back to when I was a kid on my swing -- time and thought don't really exist -- just joy!!

  • artbysusmitha

    artbysusmitha said 5 years ago

    This is exactly what I needed to start off my new creative year. Shake things up, make things happen. Love it!! :) Thank you so much!

  • BonnetsBagsTreasures

    BonnetsBagsTreasures said 5 years ago

    .....and again ..... great advise. Thank you

  • crafts2love

    crafts2love said 5 years ago

    Very true! For me creating something different, not on request or order, always does the trick. The more pressured I am for deadlines the more it helps: just stop and take time to make something 'just because,' just because I am inspired to make this. It might never sell but it gives me that boost I need. Thank you for great article!

  • martket

    martket said 5 years ago

    action now! ;)) thank's for the advise!

  • wheninflorence

    wheninflorence said 5 years ago

    This helps so much! Its really hard to be inspired when its cold,dark and rainy, but I am so ready to get to work now!!! Thanks

  • adriane1978

    adriane1978 said 5 years ago

    Love this! I'm stuck ... at not getting my stuff up and on here! I vowed to just dive in, and after reading this - I'm gonna make the effort, get unstuck, and get tons done! Thanks!

  • SultanasCrochet

    SultanasCrochet said 5 years ago

    This is such great advice! I could use a boost in the creativity department. I look forward to a more successful and creative 2012! Thanks!!!

  • inbetweenaccessories

    inbetweenaccessories said 5 years ago

    I love the advices! And the food project as well!

  • persimoncat

    persimoncat said 5 years ago

    Great, inspiring post. Cheers!

  • CurtisEliseDesign

    CurtisEliseDesign said 5 years ago

    I too needed this article during these dreary and seemingly uninspiring months. Thanks for the creativity jolt!

  • sproutspress

    sproutspress said 5 years ago

    What a great article! I love the food projects too, thanks!

  • lindamayk

    lindamayk said 5 years ago

    Great article...ruts are so terrible! Thank you!

  • aschiffm

    aschiffm said 5 years ago

    this was perfect! i'm already inspired again, ready to do some new art this weekend! :) thanks for the article

  • CharmedFox

    CharmedFox said 5 years ago

    very wise advice! step #1 is right on for me

  • Mebou

    Mebou said 5 years ago

    I absolutely agree! And I just made my own creative incantation and prayer beads that actually go in the same helps me get in the mood for composing.

  • larrychristensen

    larrychristensen said 5 years ago

    I couldn't agree more with what you said, and that's great because I needed the shove your six steps promise. Thanks.

  • StonesOfFaith

    StonesOfFaith said 5 years ago

    Thank you : )

  • missymisskyoko

    missymisskyoko said 5 years ago

    I couldn't agree more! This was such an awesome article ! I'm feeling inspired and ready to start working on some new pieces I've been putting off for so long. I just needed a little push in the right direction and this blog was definitely the start! Thank You!

  • reeanne1

    reeanne1 said 5 years ago

    I love this..I'm printing this out to hang on my workspace.

  • redemptionart

    redemptionart said 5 years ago

    Thank you..I too needed some "refreshing" and this hit the spot. Love having the freedom to play with my food!

  • earnestefforts

    earnestefforts said 5 years ago

    I appreciate the new ideas & the small reminders!

  • SigalFJewelry

    SigalFJewelry said 5 years ago

    Awesome!!! it's really thinking outside the box....

  • hrisi

    hrisi said 5 years ago

    Thank you!

  • jeffobitz

    jeffobitz said 5 years ago

    Hey Folks, I'm new to this Etsy stuff. Really I joined to try to find some folks who might like some free Welding gloves. Where I work they use different gloves on different hands. I have heavy leather gloves for the right hand and lighter ones for the left. These they normally throw away because most welders are right-handed and they wear the opposite ones. The gloves can be torn apart to salvage the material or maybe you are a potter and need a warm glove to remove hot pots. Any help finding a home for my boxes and boxes of gloves would be nice. Thanks, Jeff

  • Eternitee

    Eternitee said 5 years ago

    Thanks- was feeling stuck and chalked it up to January blues. i fear the idea of leaving my comfort zone, but am feeling that's coming next.Thanks again for the inspirations

  • Melissababycreations

    Melissababycreations said 5 years ago

    This is so great! Thank you!

  • Verdurebydesign

    Verdurebydesign said 5 years ago

    So much of what you talk about is not just expanding our creativity but being with people and building relationships.

  • Juliaquiltartist

    Juliaquiltartist said 5 years ago

    Thanks for the pep talk - I needed it!

  • JenniferArndt

    JenniferArndt said 5 years ago

    Thank you ...I needed to know I`m not the only one that takes myself way too seriously!

  • KathysKreation

    KathysKreation said 5 years ago

    "stuck?" I guess so, people say my jewelry is beautiful, etc, but very little sales, maybe the new 25% discount will help. I've "given away" not really stuck, have lots of designs in my head, just need the sales.

  • KathysKreation

    KathysKreation said 5 years ago

    I gleaned many ideas from you Noah, and lots of others, I've been reading the replies for 15 min.

  • CraftyWanda

    CraftyWanda said 5 years ago

    Wonderful reminders of what to do when time, projects and creativity stalls all collide. 2012 will be a fun year learning and experiencing something new each day. Many thanks!

  • CindyEllison

    CindyEllison said 5 years ago

    Love this article ... especially the part about making a fool of one's self.

  • AvantCarde

    AvantCarde said 5 years ago

    Fun !! Thanks for the interesting tips ...

  • gentlefragrance

    gentlefragrance said 5 years ago

    Thanks for a very enjoyable article.

  • lauriewolpertdesign

    lauriewolpertdesign said 5 years ago

    Thanks for the great tips.

  • FreshRetroGallery

    FreshRetroGallery said 5 years ago

    Your post reminds me of a vacation when we took our children to Disney World. Even though they were only 9 and 11, I could see how being outside their normal environment enhanced their creativity and appreciation of things we take for granted when one of them used the camera to take a picture of his meal being enjoyed in an outdoor setting. Yesterday my husband and I took a trip to a few inspirational places—furniture store, antique store, Wichita art Museum and the inspirational drive through the picturesque scenery of God's creation, the ultimate masterpiece.

  • CasaModerna

    CasaModerna said 5 years ago

    Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Jesseapril

    Jesseapril said 5 years ago

    Thanks! This was right on spot..Good stuff!

  • bellatessgifts

    bellatessgifts said 5 years ago

    I have been i a rut for a couple of yrs & have been try to give it a go on Etsy & trying to figure things out,like some of the Estabalished sellers,seems it so natural for some,they know there nitch,or there craft... some of us are still develolping ours... but I loved the inspiration it was what I needed,I keep pokeing around to try to find direction. Thanx so much :}

  • annagrace2010

    Lois Chang from annagrace2010 said 5 years ago

    Dare to dream and follow your heart to make things happen regardless of any circumstances, you can create something surprisingly nice from nothing. Good read.

  • L2Country

    L2Country from L2Country said 5 years ago

    TXS for this FUN article!..."L"

  • craftykates

    Katie Cannon from ASouthernLadysDesign said 5 years ago

    great article I am stuck in a rut right now. I have a big show coming up in April and I really need to be creative right now.

  • HandstampedOriginals

    Melissa McAllister from HandstampedOriginals said 5 years ago

    What a great article--thanks! ~Melissa

  • GemdropsoftheFalls

    GemdropsoftheFalls from GemdropsoftheFalls said 5 years ago

    Love the face idea! What a fun game to get the creative juices flowing. :)

  • UpsideDownFrowns

    UpsideDownFrowns from UpsideDownFrowns said 5 years ago

    Refreshing! Thank you.

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