52 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Creativity

52 Ways to Reinvigorate Your Creativity

September 12, 2016 by

If we’re honest as church communications professionals, we don’t always show up ready and raring to go. Our creativity flags. We have ideas, but they fire in halfhearted spurts, like failed Black Cats on the Fourth of July.

When those times occur—and they always do—we have two choices. We can succumb to them, or we can fight to restore our creative juices.

Let’s choose to fight. Use the 52 ideas that follow when you or the team is fading creatively.

  1. Get in the Word. God is the source of inspiration. We create our greatest works when we’re rooted in and upheld by him and his words. (Here are a few Bible verses for communicators.)
  2. Pray. Inspiration, wisdom and imagination come from the Holy Spirit. We do our creative work while depending on him.
  3. Rest. Resting makes you slow down and find hope in God. He, after all, is the great restorer of tired hearts, heads and hands. (Maybe you need to quit working late.)
  4. Remember your identity. Believer first, artist second. Get the identity right, and you won’t fatigue as easily. You’ll create because God created you to.
  5. Praise God for the person he made you to be. That is, don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison steals joy and drains creativity.
  6. Commit to a routine. Your schedule will be different from another person’s, but the point is to establish a rhythm. Your body knows when it’s time to sit in the chair and do the work.
  7. Practice. As Christian creatives, we are called to be craftsmen in the vein of Bezalel, and craftsmen are dedicated. They show up and do the work.
  8. Change the routine. If you’re in a creative rut, a surefire way out is changing the routine. Take a different route to work. Work in a different space.
  9. Learn something new. You might come to hate ceramics, bug collecting or two stepping, but you’re guaranteed to leave with a germ of an idea.
  10. Get a side project. Side projects change your perspective and fulfill dreams you might not get to accomplish on a day-to-day work basis.
  11. Rally your community. You’re not meant to go through life alone. Gather your closest friends and tell them you’re struggling. They will hold you up.
  12. Do something fun. Get your favorite people together and go to a movie or out for dinner. Laugh. A lot.
  13. Talk with the team. Your team needs a leader willing to be vulnerable, not one who has it all together.
  14. Visit with a mentor, church leader or accountability partner. You need people who will tell you it’s time to take a breather when you’re about to burnout.
  15. Ask for help. It’s OK if you’re stuck. You can always ask for feedback to get going in the right direction.
  16. Ask for feedback. Sometimes, the best way to get out of a creative rut is with constructive criticism.
  17. Collaborate with other creatives. The Facebook Church Communications group is a great way to meet potential collaborators.
  18. Attend a conference. Meeting new people and learning new things fills the brain with all sorts of ideas.
  19. Go on creative field trips. If you want to encourage creativity in the communications team, take them on field trips. Explore the science center. Go to the museum. Look at the stars. Be in awe of the grandeur around you. When you see creativity at work, you’ll want to work, too.
  20. Check out other people’s work. Your VBS campaign isn’t going to get off the ground by itself. Look at what other churches have done in the past to, well, steal like an artist.
  21. Be curious. Go exploring one Saturday. You never know what you’ll find.
  22. Pursue inspiration. Remember Jack London? You have to go after inspiration with a club. It doesn’t come without some effort on your part.
  23. Use a creative release. If it’s coloring, color. Bicycling, bicycle your legs out.
  24. Curl up with a book. If you aren’t a reader, curl up with a game—one that engages your brain instead of numbing it.
  25. Go for a run. If you hate running (What? Say it isn’t so.), go for a bike ride. A walk. Boxing. Something active.
  26. Listen to music. Listen to a new band or soundtrack. It’ll make your brain move along different lines.
  27. Watch films. Good films, that is. The latest Marvel or X-Men movie might be fun but not necessarily inspirational.
  28. Try a new restaurant. Love or hate the food, it will sharpen the palate and possibly give you an idea for a future project.
  29. Read a page in the dictionary. It sounds boring, but you’ll see zany words that spark the imagination.
  30. Wash the dishes, or complete some other chore. You might not be able to write or draw, but, hey, you can still take out the trash.
  31. Bake some cookies and deliver them to the neighbors. Encouraging someone else always lifts your spirits. (To be truly ironic, make molasses.)
  32. Set up a work space. You might be your most creative in a coffee shop. Work there then. If that isn’t you, find the “just right” space and do the backbreaking creative work there.
  33. Clean up the work space. You could find an old post-it with just the idea needed. If anything, you’ll feel better about having a clean desk.
  34. Get rid of the distractions. Sometimes, all you need to do to feel and be creative is to put the phone far, far away, maybe in another galaxy.
  35. Keep a notebook. Carry it with you or put it by the bed. Write down ideas and interesting quotes as you discover them.
  36. Make a list of little things. Remember Junior Asparagus? A happy heart is a grateful heart. So is a creative one.
  37. Get out the sticky notes. Use them to jot down ideas. Or, have a war with the team. Whatever motivates you.
  38. Set up an inspiration board. When the ideas won’t come, pull out the board and spring off of it.
  39. Experiment with what’s on hand. Remember, everything’s a remix.
  40. Ask questions. No problem gets resolved without asking the right questions. If you’re feeling especially daring, risk, “What if?”
  41. Find a different angle. Creativity often is a matter of framing. Look at the project from a new perspective and watch the ideas flourish.
  42. Take risks. You’ll never get anywhere by standing on the edge of the diving board. Take a look at the water and jump in. If you belly flop, no big deal. At least you tried something new. It’ll pay off later. Promise.
  43. Start somewhere. Every creative project begins with a line or a word, followed by another and another…
  44. Get messy. Writing and design are revision, not one-hit wonders—though you may occasionally get one of those.
  45. Set some goals. Competitive? Give yourself a challenge to complete, such as NaNoWriMo or Project 365.
  46. Set some deadlines while you’re at it. Open-ended projects somehow never get finished. Stick a due date on them to get them across the finish line.
  47. Make lists. Projects get done when broken into their individual components, so make a to-do list. Then, cross off the to-done items.
  48. Keep an eye on the prize. Knowing the “why” behind the “what” keeps you going.
  49. Award some prizes, too. Rewards can push you and the team onward. They don’t have to be expensive; you might see a creative burst from a simple, personalized “thank you.”
  50. Enjoy the process. Journey before destination. If you learn to enjoy the process more than the product, you’ll stay creative longer.
  51. Know when to quit. Some projects need to be scrapped. Learn to recognize the signs, and you’ll avoid a lot of creative frustration.
  52. Embrace the suck. Dry periods happen to every creative. Admit it and suck it up. Now, get moving.

How do you stay creative? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!

Post By:

Erin Feldman

Erin Feldman is a resident with The Austin Stone Institute at The Austin Stone Community Church. Her role as a resident is varied but includes writing, editing, illustration and design, and event planning. In the next few months, Erin will grow toward more vocal leadership roles, such as teaching and coaching writers, and will begin to work on her first novel. She volunteered with Creative Missions in 2016 and 2017 and serves as an assistant editor for Church Marketing Sucks.
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