Staying Creative Over the Long Haul

By guest contributor Rebecca Beach.

I write this post not as someone who has mastered the art of "staying creative over the long haul," but rather as someone who has to remind herself of it every day. Staying creative is one of those ever-present challenges for bloggers. Sure, we're especially inspired from time-to-time. Sure, we love spending hours on Pinterest and the feeling of being creative that gives us. Yet, we fall into ruts. We see others' work and get discouraged, or fall into the comparison trap. We feel like plunking our head down and taking a nice long break. But, it is possible to stay creative over the long haul, and here are a few tips to do it!

1) Step away from the computer and look elsewhere for inspiration
Two of my favorite places to find inspiration are the hardware store and thrift shops. Why a hardware store? I love thinking outside the box and coming up with non-traditional (yet practical) uses for hardware, lumber, and plumbing supplies. There are so many possibilities, and it’s actually quite affordable. Why thrift stores? Thrifting requires that I take an object placed on a messy shelf, and imagine it in my home, on my prop shelf, used in a photo shoot, etc. Even if I just roam the aisles of my local hardware or thrift stores without actually buying anything, I find myself inspired. Stepping away from the computer and stretching my imagination are wonderful methods to stay creative. Just find your places of inspiration!

2) Don't compare yourself
It's wonderful to look at others' work and appreciate what they've done. But, when I start to compare myself, there comes a point when my creativity is stifled and I find myself feeling inadequate. I’ve been learning how to draw the line between a healthy dose of admiration and an unhealthy comparison. Remember, you have your own niche and your own voice, and your readers follow you because of that.

3) Keep your life organized
This is a big one for me. The more organized my mind/home/office/schedule/props/supplies are, the easier it will be for me to experiment and create. If my work table is messy, I find myself less motivated to bring out more supplies and try a new DIY. If my prop shelves are cluttered, I won't end up styling the photo shoot as well as I had envisioned. It’s possible to be organized and creative; it just takes a little extra effort!

4) Plan ahead
I've found that when I plan for the week or month ahead, it helps me stay on track. It's a constant reminder to keep my creativity fed and to not get lazy. It's so easy for me to get distracted with "real life," and for my real life tasks to have a negative impact on my blogging and creativity. But finding a way (through planning ahead) to merge the two, and keep pressing on, is key!