As I Was Saying

As I was saying…before life interupted. I went on a short sojourn; to renew, refresh, and absorb some inspiration. This has always been a great way for me to refocus,  and clear away some of the clutter in my head.

Well, not this time. I returned from my trip scattered, distracted, and ready to start about 20 new projects. Time went by, many things got started, and others that I really enjoy got pushed to the side.

Here then, is my Top 10 list of ways to help refocus your attention and regain inspiration. All tried personally by me. Recently. No guarantees, but at least most are fun, and easy to do.

1. Get back to the basics. Reread some of the classic literary tales, write only in a journal, put the painting away and grab a pencil and a piece of paper.

2. Write down everything that’s on your mind in one long, stream-of-consciousness ramble.

3. Promise yourself something you’ve been wanting as a reward if you spend a certain amount of hours this week on something creative. Maybe not that new BMW, but I’m sure you can come up with something.

4. Pick some projects that you abandoned awhile ago, and work on them. It’s a good way to get past the blank page or blank canvas stage and just dive right in.

5. Get organized. Use one calendar, and write down everything in that one place. Use that rambling in #2 to see what’s distracting you, write down how to solve or handle the fixable things, and schedule all those things you have to do. Clear your desk, clear your space, and clear your mind.

6. Allow yourself to not do anything. Some guilt-free time when you don’t have to feel like you should be doing something. Just for today…

7. Try a vow of silence. This can be especially helpful to writers, but I also know of some artists who swear by it. It can be for just a day, or as long as you like. Complete silence is impossible unless you live alone, but just limiting any unecessary conversation can help regenerate your well of inspiration. Return those phone calls tomorrow, skip happy hour, or that dinner party. Reflect and observe.

8. Take a short artist’s sojourn. It really does wrok most of the time, I swear. Anything from an afternoon at an art gallery, a weekend in the country, or one spent exploring your area’s architecture. Remember what excites you, and surround yourself with it.

9. Hold your breath and jump in. Just write that first sentence, make that first brushstroke. Then the next, and the next. Before you know it…

10. Be kind to yourself. Always.

Sometimes it takes a combination of things, sometimes it’s just one thing that can trigger a surge of creativity. The most important thing is to not give up. Pull out a project or painting that you’re especially proud of, and remember the feeling you had when you were working on it. Now, hold that thought…

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