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Sometimes it's hard to get our creativity in gear. We get busy or stuck or overwhelmed, and we want to do creative things, but we just can't get to it. Right now, I think that's happening to most of us quite a lot. There's a lot for our creativity to stumble on right now.

At the same time, doing creative work is so good for our hearts! It can be soothing, energizing, revitalizing. It can give us structure when everything feels chaotic. So being creative right now is important work (see my post "Yes, Now Is Art Time" for more on that).

Knowing our creative work is important in so many ways isn't always enough to get us going, though. If you need a bit of a nudge to get some creative work, try one of these:

  • Pick something you like to do (or something new you'd like to try) and find a challenge for it (there are so many 30 day challenges out there!). The light pressure of a challenge and the support of a community can help things get moving.
  • Arrange an exchange with artist friends--mail art, an art journal you pass back and forth, a story exchange for feedback.
  • Take a class--choose something in an area you already love to work in or try out something you're interested in.
  • Teach a class--you can deepen your own practices and help others get their own creative vibes flowing
  • Do timed practices--set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and dive in (if you're really feeling stuck, see what you can do with 2 minutes--I bet you'll be surprised!)

If you're still not sure what you want to be working on, check out my post "Dipping Into Creative Work" for more ideas of ways to give your creativity some time and attention.

I hope things in your corner of the world are going as well as they can, and I hope your creativity and these ideas for how to keep engaging with it help make things just a little brighter. Have a good weekend, everyone!

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In my last post, I talked about how giving attention to our creative work and making time for art is really important right now.

It's also really hard right now. These are stressful, anxious times, and those feelings can make being creative feel really hard. And yet if we aren't getting to our creative work, that also makes us feel anxious, restless, not quite right. So what do you do when you want to do creative work but you can't seem to make it happen?

Find a way to just dip your toes into creativity. Find things that are easy, don't take too much time, are soothing if possible, fun if possible, engaging without needing laser focus. What you do isn't the important part; the important part is touching base with your creative life to keep connected.

My favorite thing to do when I want to do my art but can't settle into it is creative busy work. It's stuff that needs to get done for your creative work, but it doesn't usually require quite as much time, energy, or brain power. Things like organizing, prepping, tidying, planning, things that let you get your hands on your creative work but in a lighter and easier way than fully immersing yourself.

Some creative busy work projects:

  • Wind skeins of yarn into balls for your next knitting or crocheting project (or skeins of floss for embroidery)
  • Gather paints and sorting or organizing them for easier use on your next project
  • Clip words and pictures out of magazines for your next collage, junk journal, or art journal project
  • Put down layers of paint in your art journal for backgrounds
  • Pull gel prints for future use as backgrounds or in collages, etc.
  • Practice brush lettering or other hand lettering
  • Doodle
  • Make a color swatch (so many fun ideas for color swatches at Daisy Yellow--check out the link!) with your favorite markers, paints, colored pencils, etc.
  • Add to or organize inspirational Pinterest boards
  • Page through magazines about your art or ones that inspire you in some way

One last suggestion--keep a list of creative busy work. Put it in the front of your journal or planner or somewhere you can look at it easily. Sometimes when you're restless and want to do something, trying to remember the ideas you had about what to do gets hard. Make it easier for yourself! Easy is good.

I hope this has helped a little if you've been feeling stuck or unfocused lately. And if you have other things you like to do to help ease yourself out of a creative slump, I'd love to hear about them! Drop a note in the comments, or find me on social media.

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For the past two weeks (I started two weeks ago today!), my kitchen sink is clean (I got this idea years ago from my therapist, and then later from the Fly Lady website). This sounds pretty small, maybe unimportant. But it's making a noticeable difference for me, for my state of mind and I think for my creativity.

See, I'm a slob. And I have too much stuff, but I really like having all of it, but I am not good at organizing or tidying, so...my house is a cluttered mess. And dirty, because the clutter makes it nearly impossible to clean floors or really anything else. And this natural state of mine leaves me anxious and depressed and creatively blocked. So I decided I need to find a way to change things.

I've been on this bandwagon before. A few times. So I'm trying not to get too excited. But this time I do feel like it's different. I'm not trying to immediately add in a new thing as soon as the sink is clean. I'm just sinking in to that habit (pun not intended, but now that I noticed it, I'm keeping it!). I'm going all Kaizen-Muse with this.

So far the hardest part is fighting off the thoughts that this is too small and is never going to help me get to the bigger goal of a tidy and welcoming and organized home. I just tell myself it doesn't matter if it doesn't go further. This habit is giving me lots of good things all on its own--a feeling of accomplishment; better meals because I don't order carry-out or get fast food because there are no clean pans for cooking and I'm too tired to clean them; space to work when I want to make something, even when it's just making my lunch.

I have an inkling that there might be deeper payoffs, too. This past week I found myself doing some writing and capturing some really fun new story ideas. I've been doing a little bit of art journaling even though I don't have clear space to work in. I started designing embroideries for this year's The 100 Day Project.

Are these related to my sink project? I don't know. I do feel like there are some feeling shifts stemming from the clean sink initiative (yes, I do watch a lot of superhero movies). My plan is to continue with this until it really sinks in and becomes a habit. This is going to take longer than the 21 days that gets tossed around in regards to habit building. I think that 21 days is only true if you are trying to build a brand new habit, not when you're also trying to overcome old habits. But that's another conversation.

I'm planning on writing about this house cleaning thing (tidying? I do like the word) more. Report in on how its going, report on any changes and additions. For now I just wanted to put it out there, say that I'm doing it, see if anyone else is feeling this pull to clear their space and make room for more of what they really want.

So drop me a note and let me know about your cleaning and tidying. We can share tips and cheer each other on.

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