3 Easy Steps to Reignite Your Creative Fire

Image for 3 Simple Steps to Reignite Your Creative FireFighting the January “Back to Work Blues”

I took some time off between Christmas and New Year, vacationing with family (fun!), and then friends came into town (more fun!), and the next thing I know, it’s Monday, Jan 7, 2013 at 1:10 PM. The holidays have worn out their welcome, and I have no more excuses not to get back to work… but my motivation, which was going strong just a couple of weeks ago, seems to have mysteriously evaporated.

Has all the wine and chocolate gone to my head as well as my hips? Am I destined to become an indolent slacker, carefree laugh belying the vacant, glazed look in her eyes and the hollowness of her soul?

Even the most enthusiastic creatives can lose momentum from time to time. Whether it’s because you took a vacation or got distracted by other obligations, too much time away from your art can slide into lethargy, procrastination, and a kind of moody malaise. And that’s where I am today.

I know I’ll feel better once I get going again (because working on my creative projects makes me happier than almost anything), but yet I resist taking that first step for no good reason. It’s just the law of inertia – a body at rest tends to stay at rest; a body in motion tends to stay in motion.

Sometimes we over-analyze things (another form of procrastination), when in fact the solution is quite simple: put butt in chair and work. But if you need a little more encouragement, join me in implementing these three simple steps.

  1. Choose one small task. In times of resistance it’s best not to get grandiose. In my current state of mind, the thought of the BIG PICTURE just makes me want to crawl back in bed. But I decided I could at least write this article about how unmotivated I’m feeling. Your task might be to read over a story or chapter, jot a few notes, free-write for ten minutes, take a walk with your camera and shoot without looking through the viewfinder, or flip through your sketch book.
  2. Let your imagination wander. As you’re idly dipping a toe in your creative waters, remember the spark of curiosity or fun that made you want to do this type of work or project in the first place. Have you gotten away from that lately? Spend some time contemplating your favorite parts of the creative process, and make sure you incorporate some of that juicy goodness into your schedule every week.
  3. Make a list of five more creative tasks that you’d like to do next (and remember to include at least one of your favorites). If you’re still feeling sluggish, it might help to rank them in order of difficulty, from least to greatest and work your way up.

By the time you’ve completed your list, I can almost guarantee you’ll be back in the groove again. If not, start over again from step one. If you love what you’re doing, clicking into the habit of working on your creative project won’t take more than a week or two. By then, the upswing of inertia will be in full force and working for you, a body in motion…

Dream it. Do it.

What will you make in 2013?

7 Responses to “3 Easy Steps to Reignite Your Creative Fire”

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  1. Thora says:

    Thanks! I needed that! I will make art in 2013!
    (I will use fewer exclamation points too)

  2. Keep the exclamation points, they are so you!

  3. Donna says:

    That’s exactly what I’m going through, that inertia… and I procrastinate by over-analyzing for sure! Thanks for these steps, I’m going to try them. #2 is really easy for me, my imagination is wandering and half-daydreaming most of the time :)

  4. Yes, we really can over-complicate the process sometimes… tricky brains.

  5. Debbie Russell says:

    I always thought you were a bundle of energy!! You fooled me – lol

  6. Ella says:

    Well said and a joy to read as usual Melanie.

  7. We all have our off days, don’t we! All better now…

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