Tips For Creating After Time Off
1. Go Back To Unfinished Work and Projects
When I take some time off from creation, one of the things that help me get back the creative flow is going back to some of the unfinished works. It could be a copywriting project, or a cold pitch message that I could not get right. With a rested mind and fresh energy, I give the unfinished work a second look. Most times, I am able to modify and adjust it until its perfect completion.
Submitted By: Jay Scott, CMO at Pugsquest
2. Find Inspiration In Other Creators
When I take time off from creating (whether that’s writing, cosplay, or making videos), I get inspired by other creators.
Just today, I watched a YouTuber’s video on photography that instantly inspired me. Now I’m eagerly working on my cosplays so that I can finish them and try new photo aesthetics!
I also usually get my best ideas when I’m working out. You just have to maintain that initial spark of enthusiasm and actually sit down and do the damn thing.
Submitted By: Tiffani Daniel, Cosplay and Coffee
3. Learn About Your Craft and Marketing
As a visual artist, I like to start regaining creative flow by listening to podcasts and reading books. Most of the content in these podcasts and books usually relates to improving my creative business in some way.
For example, a podcast about digital marketing or a book about keeping on top of my finance game. These get my head into the zone, they remind me that I am, in fact, running a business and that it’s more than just creating artwork. Another strategy I use is to watch YouTube videos of other artists’ studio processes. This helps me to imagine myself in my own studio and can usually inspire me with new art techniques that I may not have considered before.
At this point, I am backed by business and marketing theory, I’ve seen how other artists create their works and I’m now ready to create some art. Or so I thought. The next step I usually have to do religiously, before creating new art, is to clean the studio space. There are elements of meditation in this process, getting rid of the old and in with the new. Even a quick tidy can help my brain reach that clean slate of mind. See what I did there?
Next I warm-up with small scribbles, paint trials, colour matching, sketches to eventually get me to plan new works. It is at this point I’m in the zone to start creating new content after time off.
Submitted By: Lambrini Niaros, Lambs Studio
4. Employ Time Management Techniques
I was a little anxious about starting to write regularly again given the years of procrastination and inaction! But, it’s been like riding a bike.Some things that have been extremely useful:
- Creating a spreadsheet so I know what a typical day will look like. I know which days are for research, writing, learning something technical etc.
- I ring-fence specific time to write – rather than demanding I write a set amount of words.
- I have started using a Pomodoro app, Be Focused Pro. It allows me to focus for specific amounts of time, then reminds me to take a break.
Getting back into content creation has mostly been about being kind to myself. I know that it’s going to take time for me to get back to writing at volume. So, right now, I’m doing my best to create routines and habits.
Submitted By: Adaobi Ifeachor, Adaobi Reads
5. Go Back To Your ‘Why’
One of my best strategies for regaining creative flow after I’ve had a break is to go back to my why. By this, I mean that instead of getting straight back to content creation I take a further step back and reflect on why I chose this career in the first place. This not only helps to excite me and reignite my passions about achieving my goals but it helps me create a game plan for the future.
Submitted By: Afiyah Nadeem, Whenlifeawakens
6. Start Small With No Expectations
I have been a creator all my conscious life. Be it writing, photography, knitting, or doing DIY soaps, I always have something to get my hands busy with. However, as most creatives out there, I sometimes find myself stuck in a rut.
Suddenly my camera feels uninspiring or I can’t think of any interesting concept to write down in my notebook. When this first happened to me, it felt scary – what if I never regained my creativity again? It felt as if a superpower had left my body, forever. Of course, this didn’t last but it taught me how to cope with these sudden bursts of inspiration. Even if you still feel uninspired, go out with your camera in the nearby park. Or call a friend to do a spontaneous shoot. Or get a pen or a brush between your fingers.
Even if it feels stupid and as if nothing will come out of it, just do it – Nike keeps ramming that line in our heads for a good reason. Trust me, once you get at it, the flow will find you after a while and it will be hard to stop. The timing is different for everyone, so don’t be discouraged if your expectations aren’t met immediately.
Don’t be a perfectionist (like me). Don’t think straight away that you will do a Picasso-grade painting or come up with your most brilliant writing prompt yet. If you avoid having expectations, you won’t be disappointed -and this is a good thing. After all, the reason you create above all else is to nourish your soul. So let it be and let it find its way through your art – it is always wonderful, I promise.
Submitted By: Snezhina Piskova, Independent Fashion Bloggers
7. Try A New Medium
We all need to take time off for different reasons over the course of our creative careers. A recent reason many creatives can identify with is the global pandemic. But now that it’s clear it is here to stay and we need to learn to live with it, it’s time to get back to the business of creating.
Hopefully in your time off you’ve had a chance to clear the cobwebs. But it can still be tricky to get those gears turning again. Remember that creativity is a muscle and needs regular exercise in order to stay in tip top shape. After taking a creative hiatus, I often find that exploring a new medium to be helpful. There’s less pressure to come out of the gate at my top speed if I’m creating in a space that isn’t my usual forte.
For example, my strengths lately have been in graphic design. After taking a recent break from work, I’m getting back into the swing of things by exploring web design and writing. Since I haven’t done much creative work in these fields, I’m not a concerned about reaching a specific quality of work and as a bonus, it always feels great to invest in expanding my creative palette.
Submitted By: Emily Warkentin, Nectur.co
8. Engage With Your Culture
Whenever i have a break from being creative, i often find the best way to become re-inspired is through over-indulging in culture. It’s important to become pro-active in engaging with news, art, design, film, music – any form of design or creativity that inspires you.
Spend a some time dedicated to re-engaging with the world in a very visual way, and let the world influence your own creativity through opinion, atmosphere, detail and excitement. We are lucky to live in a digital world, where engaging with whats out there is easier than its ever been, so being able to find inspiration isn’t ever to far away
Submitted By: Daniel Foley, Assertive Media
9. Clear Your Mind
I’m always trying to come up with new ways to do things, even in my other hobbies and daily life. These are the ways I get my brain clear and open to new ideas:
- Meditation – Once I’m relaxed I often see a new pattern or design in my mind, it just pops up when I am able to tune everything else out.
- Anything to clear my mind, it is all there waiting for me to find, I just need to clear the other mundane thoughts to reach it.
- Looking at my favorite works of art from the old masters, I love painting too so this really inspires me.
- Hikes through the woods, finding new patterns on and in the leaves – Just by paying attention to nature, it has almost everything I need to get moving forward.
Just by doing something over and over again but changing something each time. I find that logic plays a big role in what I do, I need it come easily and work well for it to be usable in my teaching and crafting.
Submitted By: Marissa Likar, Stitch Clinic
10. Have Fun!
Getting back into a creative groove can be intimidating, so focusing on fun projects is key. At first, creatives should make their intent to simply get their momentum back while enjoying the work. If instead, their intent is to have a valuable, finished piece right off the back, this can add undue stress and make it harder to get back in the swing!
After concentrating in engineering sciences for many years, I took a sabbatical to focus again on creative pursuits. The first artistic pieces I created at this time had no meaning or use. If a color appealed to me, I splashed it around on a page. If a shape grabbed me, I doodled it. There more detailed parts of creative work that we each find daunting. I recommend cutting those out, too. For me, perfectionism is a problem, especially at this jumping-back-in stage.
Perfectionism is the enemy of fun! So, I limited my visual art media to pencils and watercolors. Normally, I prefer acrylics, but that’s because it’s easy to erase mistakes with new, opaque layers in this medium. As a result, my acrylic paintings take a ridiculously long time, but watercolors are finished in a fraction of the time.
When I got back into creative writing, I gave myself a time limit on when a piece was to be finished, limited the word count to something small, and quality was made the least important factor. The goal was to again feel the satisfaction of finishing something and gaining creative momentum. It’s important to go easy on ourselves and stop when it’s not fun! Ask yourself what would make it fun and make those changes. Take breaks. Remember what parts you loved doing the thing you’re doing and get back to that first.
11. Be Patient With Yourself
Just as an athlete might return to the gym for the first time in three months, showing up is half the battle. As the Nike campaign says “Just Do It”. So – when I need to get back in the creative groove, I make sure I set aside some time every day to make music. If it’s for three hours, great! But if I can only get in 30 minutes, that’s okay too.
The key is consistency. Do something in your creative wheelhouse every day. Don’t put any pressure on it. Don’t judge it. Practice patience. Don’t be disappointed when divine inspiration fails to strike.
Simply show up consistently every day and put in some time being creative, Then – let that patience extend through every session, every day. After all- the athlete that is back at the gym can’t expect to be at the same level of performance they were at 3-4 months ago. It will take time.
After two weeks, it will start to feel better and come more quickly. By the end of a month, even more so. With consistency and patience, your creative muscles will re-develop,re-strengthen, and again be responsive. With that – the gods will smile upon your endeavors, the muse will return . . . and divine inspiration will be ready to strike.
Submitted By: Glen Muñoz, Concordia Sound
12. Explore Your Creativity
Getting creative after some time off can seem difficult. The first step is often the hardest but simply beginning and permitting yourself to explore without setting unrealistic expectations of yourself is a great starting point. Also, distancing yourself from familiar surroundings and screens, taking in new environments and experiences often ignite that creative spark.
Try unplugging and taking a walk with purpose—intentionally observing what’s around you—a new neighbourhood, storefront windows, back alleyways, signage, people. Finally, explore tangible artifacts like magazines, pictures, books, and thrift shops with often overlooked or neglected objects that can’t be replicated online. Take it all in and get inspired. You never know what you’ll find or where it could lead your creative exploration.
Submitted By: Michael Richardson, Jacknife
13. Create A Routine
After a short stretch from the break or vacation, it is not easy to regain focus and normal workflow for creative content. For content marketers, we usually need to combine the hot topic with our product to produce a creative campaign.
To be honest, it is hard since it is not possible to have inspiration all the time. However, I’ve found the below steps can help me to back on track to work:
- Make a to-do list every day. It is important to set a goal and know what you need to do.
- Prioritize 3 must-do things in a day.
- Take a short break within a day to boost your energy.
Having a regular work routine can help you be more productive while working, and you could also have a clear mind to brainstorm creative content.
Submitted By: Carol Li, Cocosign
14. Brainstorm Content and Projects
Lists are a low-pressure way to switch your creative brain on again when it’s out of the habit. If you write fiction, you might list:
- 10 landmarks in a fantasy city
- 10 unusual murder weapons
- 10 awkward people to run into on a first date
A writer of creative non-fiction (including bloggers) might list:
- 10 things I want to learn more about
- 10 things I fight about with my mom
- 10 of my pettiest grudges
You may never use any of the ideas in the list. That’s okay. It gets you past the tyranny of the blank page. It’s exercising the creative part of your brain, but since a list isn’t proper writing, you don’t get blocked or worry that it’s not good enough. Not sure what to list? There’s always 10 lists to make next time I’m stuck.
Submitted By: McKinley Valentine, The Whippet
15. Enter Challenges and Contests
I took part in online challenges and competitions. We may create art for art’s sake, but positive feedback can encourage us to keep going and constructive criticism helps us grow. Some of my favorite challenges are the NYC Midnight competitions. In them, you get prompts and short deadlines. You then compete against other writers and eventually receive individualized feedback from a judge.
The fast pace and specific themes make it easier to overcome any mental or creative hurdles I experience when picking up writing again. There are also forums you can share your work on and discuss with fellow writers! Challenges like this are great resources for those trying to get back into their art of choice.
Submitted By: Kendra Bruning, GameCows
What Did You Think?
I hope you enjoyed this list of tips for creating after time off. Were there any that we missed? What is your best tip for being creative after taking a break? Let me know on social media!