What To Do When Your Creative Business ... Isn't

If your daily work has anything to do with creating something - art, craft, graphics, design - you know that some days are more creative than others. There are days or even weeks where you can be creative on command and complete project after project of incredible quality.

And then there are the other days.

Does this sound familiar?
You stare at a blank page for hours, and it's still blank.
Colors and patterns you would normally put together look like avocado green appliances in a mustard yellow kitchen from the 1970s.
All the tools and supplies you need are right in front of you, but you feel like you've never used them before.
Project ideas are few and far between, while nothing sounds interesting enough to actually start.

Those of who try to be creative for a living know that there are usually more good days than bad days, but when the bad ones hit, they hit hard. Nothing flows, nothing jives and not one single thing sparkles. That doesn't work when you're trying to be productive.

So what can you do to get your flow back?

1. Walk away, either literally or figuratively. Forcing the matter won't help, no matter how hard you try. Get up and leave the room for an hour. Put that project aside and work on something completely different for an hour. Don't even think about your original idea until you're ready to breathe and give it another shot.

2. Bounce your ideas off someone else. I was able to work on a writing project with a brilliant author and friend of mine last week, and she was able to spark me into writing again just from talking a few things out. Don't keep it inside and don't be afraid to get some counsel about why you're stuck.

3. Scraplift. This is a term in the papercraft world that means taking a layout, design or color combination and making it your own. Love that card you saw online? Use the supplies you have on hand and use it to make something similar. Find a book at the library and try one of their techniques. One little flame of an idea can turn into something amazing when you make it yourself.

4. Try a different medium, skill or outlet. If you normally work with paper, do something digital. Are you a writer? Go make something out of wood. Not only will you develop another set of interests, you'll be able to clear your head for your own niche.

5. Change locations. My computer is in the craft room, so I do most of my writing there. But I can also be found at the library, the park and a couple of local restaurants. Some days it's as simple as taking my iPad to the dining room table so I have a different view. You may not be able to take your whole job somewhere else, but you can do parts of it with different scenery.

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