Creative Outlets

5 “Hacks” On Being Creative When You’re NOT Feeling It

Being a creative is hard


let’s face it,

it is almost impossible to be creative every waking minute.


Maybe every minute is a bit of an exaggeration,

but if you asked a non-creative to describe the day of a creative,

you might be surprised to hear that non-creatives think creatives play all day.

There are mornings when I get up and stare at the blank page of my “Morning Pages” just willing my brain to function. And – NOTHING.

The coffee pot gurgles as the last of the water runs through the grounds. Coffee. The elixir of life.

Now, I shall be productive. Now, I shall be creative.

But the brain doesn’t share in my desire to be creatively productive. I sit, blank page in front of me and pen in hand, presuming that creativity will tap me on the shoulder and say, “Here’s what you should write down.”


You’re right. It never happens that way.

In reality, what I find myself doing is putting down words that equate with what is going on in my house, a chronicle of what I did the day before, or listing the tasks and errands on my agenda.

By the time I finish, I usually have at least one page for my “Morning Pages” in my “ONE NOTEBOOK.”

Have I been creative?

I don’t usually think so.

But when this goes on for hours, or days, or even (in some cases) week, I have searched for ways to spark my creativity.

Here are my top five things to do to attempt to spark my creativity into action.

#1 Move

I use several different concepts of “MOVE.”

For example, if I am writing at my desk and I am not being productive, I take everything and MOVE to a different location in my house – like moving to the dining room table. Just that switch of space can help.

I have stopped my entire struggle and hopped in the truck with my laptop, flash drives, and notes and MOVED to the library or coffee shop or restaurant space to spend an hour or so writing.

I have stopped EVERYTHING and MOVED outside for a walk. I utilized this concept when I took myself for a personal writer’s retreat in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. I sat at the table in my camper and NOTHING. Nothing except the desire to hike in the mountains which I did four out of the five days I camped there alone.

#2 Work in a Different “Creative” Mode

When the words and ideas don’t flow, I try something else. As a multi-dimensional creative, I enjoy re-purposing silverware into jewelry, stacking various pieces of glassware until I have a pleasing sculpture, re-purposing and decorating wooden cigar boxes into spaces for treasures, sitting at the piano and playing my way through a book of music, or pulling out my violin and working through my music portfolio.

Sometimes working differently helps spark my words to flow. It’s like the words are saying, “Hey! Wait! You were working with me. I want to be the focus of your attention.”

#3 Drive

I don’t know what it is, but when I have a distance to drive (even 30 minutes worth), my creative brain goes on overdrive. Unfortunately, I can’t (AND SHOULDN’T) write as I drive. What I do use is a small, hand-held digital recorder – NOT THE ONE ON MY PHONE. I call my digital recorder “George.” “George” is my personal secretary and I can record any and all ideas I have.

Sure, I have to listen to the recording, and yes, I need to transcribe those ideas. However, in listening and transcribing I also find myself elaborating, and the creative ball begins to roll again.

#4 Do Something Mundane

I remember hearing the words “Take a break. You’re trying too hard.” when I was learning how to play both the piano and the violin.

When creativity begins to feel like a chore, get up and engage in a mundane task, but also do it in a way that you normally wouldn’t do it.

For example, you always wash dishes in the dishwasher. Instead, wash your dishes individually, by hand; dry them; and methodically put them away.

Don’t have a dishwasher? Try switching the wash sink with the drain sink. OR wash the dishes out of your normal order.

#5 Meet a Fellow Creative for a Cup of Coffee

Just sitting over a cup of coffee with a creative friend can spark motivation and inspiration. But go without expecting to talk about your creativity and your creative work. Many times the conversation will turn to the creative, but don’t meet with any expectations.

What tricks or “hacks” do you use to jump-start your creativity? Take a moment to share them in the comments.

Thanks for reading.


As you move through your day-to-day activities and responsibilities, please remember to

Live Life –

Keep Things Simple –

Look for the Positive –



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One Comment

  • Danie Botha

    1. Definitely a coffee shop.
    But with intention. Pay attention from time to time to patrons.
    Listen to conversations.
    2. Read. Read. Read.
    3. If you’re stuck with your short story go to your novel. Or write a poem

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