Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Keep The Creativity Flowing

If you sell handmade then you have probably dealt with "creative rut" at some point in time.  Thankfully at the moment for me, this is not one of those times!  However, when my brain fails me (usually at the least convenient time) there are a few things I have up my sleeve to muddle towards the light at the end of the tunnel.  I'm sure a few of these things can help you too!

From photo.

To sketch.

To design. Dragonfly Summer Necklace
Jot down everything.  I keep a sketchbook or a notebook handy pretty much at all times.  If I'm out of the house my phone is always with me and I use my notebook app for any ideas that hit me.  Don't ever allow yourself to come up with a great idea for a new project and then not write it down because "you'll remember it later".  Fail!  If you have a camera on your phone take pictures of things that inspire you.  Nice color combos, shapes, patterns, etc.  All these things can get those gears turning later.  I take it one step further and I have an "inspiration journal" full of said photos that I've taken, magazine clippings and doodles I've done that can help me come up with new material when the creativity is just now flowing like it should.

A page from my inspiration journal

Stockpile.  This goes hand in hand with what I said above.  When you are in a creative mood and thoughts and ideas are flying through your head, take note of each and every one even if you don't have a complete thought nor the time to build upon them.  These are the seeds that can be grown later.  I always have several half drawn (or failed) jewelry and painting ideas in my sketchbook from one of my mad brainstorming moments and they have saved me more than once when I had little motivation to think of new ideas.  If you do have the time to make your thoughts come to life then create, create, create!  I almost always have more items on hand than I actually have listed in my Etsy shop.  Why don't I list all them at once?  For starters, I don't like flooding my shop with 10 new items all at once and then have to spend God knows how long promoting each and every one of them without appearing spammy.  I keep all new items as draft listings in my shop and I'll publish 2-3 a week and this gives me enough to work with and keep things fresh for about a month without me having to work my butt off to keep up.  If a new item falls out of season before I get to list or I create a a summer item in the winter, then I just wait till that season comes up and I list it then.

I don't see a bee on a flower. I see an awesome color combo of orange, yellow and olive

Look around you.  Pay attention to everything.  I draw most of my inspiration from nature and I'm a highly visual artist, so I see the world in terms of color, texture and form rather than an object in its entirety.  I take photos of everything, which annoys my husband when we're trying to take a walk (he no longer waits for me).  I've also been known to stash away ridiculous amounts of paint chips from the paint store when there was no painting project in the works.  Those paint chips are wicked awesome for planning a color theme for a new design.  However, I've found an even better alternative (that won't annoy the paint mixing clerk, who acts like you're taking from his personal paint chip stash) with a site called Design Seeds with ready made palettes for you to download.  Hi, my name is Heather and I'm a Design Seeds addict.  I'm beyond help I'm sure.

Spring Blossom, colors picked from a Design Seeds palette

Ask and you shall receive.  Another way to get ideas is to simply ask for them.  Ask your fans and followers on Facebook and Twitter what they'd like to see more of from you or if they'd like to see different colors in a particular design, etc.  Your fans and followers are the people who have made your business possible,  so give them an opportunity to become part of your design process.

Are there any other tips or tricks you use for your creative process?


  1. wow, thanks for all these ideas. I'm one of those "I'll remember later" and you're right I don't. now I'm off to check out Design Seeds.

    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'm sure you'll love Design Seeds! Careful, it's addicting!

  2. I love your journal! What a great idea! I'm bad about thinking of something, and then forgetting about it later because I didn't bother writing it down or otherwise making a note of it somehow. Need to keep better track of those kinds of things! ;-)

    1. Thank you for stopping by! Yes, write everything down!

  3. GREAT tips! The inspiration journal is great, not only for ideas, but it's great to look back on (sort of like a scrapbook of memories, but for creativity)!
    Awesome post. =0)
    from Blogging Buddies

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  5. Hi Heather: Thanks for sharing Design Seeds. I'll add link to Self Marketing Today.

    I keep many projects going at once. That way I can always be finishing something, and when I tire of one I can take a break with another. I never expect to not be creating. I never want to stop, lol.


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