“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~ Maya Angelou
Let’s face it, if you work in a creative industry, getting into a rut from time to time is inevitable. Whether you work in journalism, photography, film making, product development, design, marketing or blogging — each one comes with it’s own set of creative struggles. Since you all know my job is a little mix of the last two, I’m going to focus my tips on finding inspiration when you’re a content creator like me!
I’ll preface this by saying I absolutely love blogging and working as a content creator. It enables me to flex my creative muscles, learn new skills, and produce something that (I hope) inspires other people to live a healthy, happy lifestyle. For the past two+ years, I’ve produced over 100 blog posts and posted an average of once a day on Instagram. That’s over 365 pieces of new content a year!!
Holy moly. That’s a lot of photos.
With that much content, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t experienced my fair share of creative ruts along the way. As the blogging and social media world continue to shift and expand, the importance of creating quality content continues to be a crucial element of my business strategy. This is especially true when there is an algorithmic formula at play that seems to change every few months! And as the Influencer world becomes more saturated, the algorithm becomes even tighter and competition becomes more fierce… which in turn can make it quite a struggle to keep content fresh, fun and inspired.
If you’ve ever felt the same, just know you’re not alone! Thankfully, there are SO many ways to pull yourself out of whatever funk you’re in and refocus your creative energy into producing something amazing. The following are all the things that I turn to whenever I find myself with a major case of writer’s block or blankly staring at Instagram like “um, what in the world should I post today?”
I hope it helps you to find a little inspiration of your own!
Go location scouting
Whether you physically take time to walk around your city or simply keep a running list of awesome (and aesthetically pleasing places) on your phone, changing up your location can help spark new ideas. When you find a location that works it can be challenging to branch out and try something new…. however the “same old, same old” can really stifle your creative juices. My photographer and I are always sharing location ideas with each other and I have to say, it does make our photoshoots extra fun to plan! Case in point: I ran across “The Pint Shop” on Instagram and immediately knew it would be the perfect backdrop for this new dress I bought… so that’s how I ended up there last week and now have all these fun, colorful photos to share with you all!
Clear the clutter
A cluttered space = a cluttered mind. I truly believe your creative ability is directly impacted by the state of your workspace. When it comes to your desk, think less is more. Invest in shelves, filing cabinets and other tools to keep your space organized and clean. Take 5 minutes each evening to simply clear your desk of any loose papers, drinking glasses, or whatever else may have built up from earlier that day. You may be amazed at how even this one little change in your environment can have a dramatic impact on your creativity.
Read a good book
There is nothing like a good book to get your wheels turning, especially when they’re full of motivational tidbits and inspirational quotes. Sometimes if I find myself staring blankly at my Instagram wondering what to write, I open up whatever book I feel drawn to that day and start scribbling out some quotes and thought starters. You never know what topic it may trigger! A few of my favorites are: The Motivation Manifesto, You Are A Badass, Jesus Calling, and Live Love Style.
Switch up your workout
Trust me, I love yoga. But sometimes I need to shake things up and try new workouts to keep my brain and body stimulated. Not only does a good sweat session help you clear your head but it may even inspire some interesting content ideas! As much as I appreciate writing out shot lists and planning out whatever new project I have in store, there is a degree of spontaneity that I really love with content creation. Sometimes my favorite shots are completely unplanned and happen with a friend right after working out (like THIS and THIS shot).
Be fully present
If you’re in a constant battle with anxiety, it can be devastating to your creativity. There are lots of causes but let’s focus on one that I think we’re all familiar with… the dreaded “Sunday Scaries.” It’s that lump in your throat, pounding in your chest, nervous sweat you may experience on a lovely Sunday evening because your mind is focused on what is in store for you the next day. In other words, you’re focused on the future. Your mind has temporarily left the present moment, where you may be sitting comfortable on your couch with your dog and S.O., and instead is already sorting through the millions of things on your to-do list. If you’re constantly worrying about the future how can you expect yourself to gain any creative perspective from what you’re experiencing right now? Be here. Even if it’s just for a few minutes a day, train your mind to focus on whatever your current stimulation is instead of thinking about what you need to do later.
Stay on top of what’s trending
Yes, by all means please do your own thing. You do not have to wear trendy clothes, you don’t have to post about trending topics, and you don’t need to like whatever is “in.” This being said… it really does help to at least have your finger on the pulse of whatever happens to be popular within your given field. As a wellness lifestyle blogger I really push myself to know what the best workouts are in NYC, the latest health crazes, which activewear brands are hot and which are total duds, and a basic understanding of things that have gained rapid popularity like CBD oil, maca powder and golden lattes. Know your field. Read articles, do your research, talk to other professionals, and never stop learning!
Write it out
Sometimes the best cure to writer’s block is just to write. Yep, you read that correctly. When you don’t know what to talk about or share, take out a blank notebook and just start jotting down whatever thought starters come to your mind. They don’t have to be fully formed topics or even coherent sentences. The key is to start somewhere and you may be surprised at what freely flows from your mind. Don’t forget to save these random musings for you to come back to at a later date. It can really come in handy when you’re in a pinch!
Listen to your audience
If you’re a blogger, knowing your audience is the single most important key to success. The only way you can know them, is to listen to them! Take note of which types of content resonates most… whether it’s for the aesthetic you used, the location of the photo, the message you shared, etc. And don’t be afraid to ask them directly in the form of questions or even Polls on Instagram Stories! I value what my audience shares with me and always strive to produce content that I think will either A) brighten their day B) help them solve a problem C) give them something new to think about or D) give them something to relate to.
Brainstorm with other creatives
Sometimes you just need to be in the room with other creative people to get those juices flowing. This is the biggest thing I miss about my 9-5 life. When you’re charged with coming up with everything on your own it can be really really hard to stay inspired! That’s why meeting with other creatives is SO important, whether it be through virtual conversations or in person. Make time to show up for other people to help them and don’t be afraid to ask them to do the same for you!
Try something new
Shake things up! Creativity is fueled by new experiences so don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. Put on a new outfit, go to that new Broadway show, order something different on the menu, try a new workout (whoops — already said that ;)), and listen to new music. Inspiration is everywhere… you just need to open your mind a little to see it.
Alright, lovelies. The last piece of advise I can give you as that you should always give yourself permission to let your imagination run wild! Dream big, experiment with new things, and push yourself to be the creative mastermind you’re destined to be. Don’t do it for the “likes”… do it for you.
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All photos by Wini Lao Photography