Tag: creativity

7 tips I use to get going when feeling unmotivated

Brunette girl with head in hand feeling unmotivated

Are you feeling unmotivated and don’t know how to get going? So was I. My days had settled into a routine. I got up, did the crossword, ate breakfast, then head to my studio, prepared dinner, watched some television, and finally off to bed. With the COVID restrictions on traveling, visiting with friends, or going out for entertainment, I saw a “sameness” with my days. I needed a way on how to get out of my rut. (See my ‘7 tips to getting unstuck’ below.)

I decided to shake things up by changing my art medium. Dusting off the oil paints (which I had rarely touched in over a decade), I considered what I could do. A friend wanted me to paint a yellow rose as a gift from his recently engaged daughter. For me, trying to paint a realistic rose with oils was totally out of my comfort zone!

It was an exciting challenge, and it took a while to get comfortable painting with oils again, but I pushed through. Enjoying the unique qualities of the paint, I reveled in its creamy texture and longer working time. Experimenting with this different medium gave me new ideas for my current mixed media work and reinvigorated my studio practice.

Yellow rose oil painting motivates artist to paint again

“That’s good and well for you, but I’m not an artist. So how does this help me?” you say. The key is to make some changes to your routine. Try one or all seven of my tips to revive and energize you to get going again.

Seven pieces of advice to get you unstuck and motivated

Change your routine by talking to someone new

If you’re only speaking with your family and a few friends, you’re not getting enough stimulation. Try calling up an old friend or connecting via Facebook to cross-country pal. Even striking up a conversion with your grocery store cashier will prompt a change in your routine.

Kindle your curiosity by trying something new

How about that new chocolate cake recipe you’ve wanted to try (and eat)? Or that 500 piece jigsaw puzzle that’s still in the box? Intense focus on a single activity such as cooking or doing puzzles in proven to reduce stress.

Being spontaneous can activate your motivation

Instead of eating lunch while working on your computer, count the birds you see outside your window. If you always take a morning walk, try roller-skating around the neighborhood instead. Make a point to make one small change to your routine each day. Say yes to new experiences!

Exercise outside to enhance creativity

Surrounding yourself with nature has a positive impact on the body and enhances creativity. Psychologists found that backpackers scored 50 percent higher on creativity tests after spending a few days outside without their electronics. Additionally, exercise improves blood flow and memory; it changes the brain to enhance thinking skills.

three roller skaters with old fashion skates

Start a new habit to motivate change

Good habits are the key to staying motivated. Newton’s First Law is ‘objects in motion tend to stay in motion.’ Or more clearly said, once you start, the easier it is to continue moving forward. Habits don’t have to be significant. Consistently completing a small task has the best chance for tremendous results over time. Maybe yoga first thing in the morning. Or reading before bed instead of scrolling on your phone.

Rewarding yourself for positive behavior can motivate you

Reward yourself for your good behavior (like passing on that third glass of wine) and treat yourself that new nail polish you’ve been eyeing instead. Tie your reward to your new consistent habit. Have you been regular in your morning journaling this month? Buy yourself to a fancy fountain pen. Brought your lunch to work every day this week? Put it toward an upcoming vacation you’ve dreamed of going on.

Just making a plan can get you unstuck

Simply having a plan, whether you end up following it, will help you feel confident and inspired. Our brains are scared of the unknown and tend to freeze up without a plan. Imagining the first step will make it easier to move forward. Plus, making a plan will give you something to look forward to and help keep you motivated.

Too stressed to come up with a plan, I’ve got some tips to help you. Read more at How to be creative when stressed or under pressure.

In summary, if you need help getting motivated, try a new recipe, run on a different path, or call a friend you haven’t spoken to in years. Or even pull out the oil paints and give it a go. I’m rooting for you!

You can see more great creativity tips by signing up for my monthly newsletter.  Sure, I could use some tips!

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Doodling is more than a distraction

Sketchbook cover

I love to doodle. Doodling — the spontaneous act of drawing, typically in the margins of whatever one is really supposed to be working on — is more than a distraction. It helps with better learning, creativity, and performance.

Here are three of doodling’s benefits:

1. Doodling helps me concentrate. It keeps me focused. Doodling seems to occupy my frontal lobe (the area that would otherwise be making to-do lists, or planning my next vacation) so the rest of my brain can be present and engaged during meetings or phone calls.

2. Doodling helps me generate ideas. When I’m stuck on a painting, I find solving the problem head-on doesn’t always work. Doodling distracts me from consciously thinking about the problem, allowing my subconscious to work on a solution for me. The same thing can happen when sleeping. I’ve spent all day trying to solve a problem without success, only to wake up in the morning with the perfect solution.

3. Doodling makes me more creative by opening up more exploratory avenues of thought. Doodling lets me consider new ideas without a big investment of time. I just let myself be creative; not worrying about the work being good or that anyone else has to see. It lets me consider ideas in fresh new ways.

I doodle on the cover of my sketchbooks. Where and when do you doodle? What benefits do you derive from it?

How to record all those great ideas

One of the things I like to do to stimulate my creativity is to keep a sketchbook/journal. I like the 14″ x 11″ black cover sketchbooks by Utrecht.  It is in this book that I sketch out ideas, keep notes on art marketing, paste clipping of other artist’s work that inspires me, and more. I just finished filling another art journal/sketchbook this week. To celebrate finishing this journal, I doodled the cover using a white sharpie pen.

2nd doodled journal