It’s easy to get into a creative rut when you work from home as an artist or maker. And it’s not always easy to find inspiration when you have a routine you love. The best way to shake off that stagnation is to put yourself out there and take some creative risks — you know, the kind that make you feel bold, give you a new challenge, but aren’t so huge that you’re really in trouble of harming your business (or your favorite craft supplies).
Here are some ideas for low-bar risks that will help push you creatively and make you feel more excited about the work you’re making.
1. Try a Different Medium. We all get in creative ruts. One of the best ways to mix it up is to switch up your supplies. There’s nothing like challenging your brain by forcing it to work with new tools. The change can be simple, always paint with acrylics? Try oils or gouache. Chances are you’ll discover some new techniques that might spark a project idea.
2. Put Your Work Out There. Have you been toiling away in your work space but never let your creations see the light of day? This month try selling or showing what you make. Approach a gallery or a retail store about carrying your goods. Even if they don’t say yes, chances are you will learn what they’re looking for in the process and you can keep working towards that goal. You’ll never know until you take your work out of the craft room and into the world.
3. Collaborate. Working with others on creative projects can be tough, but it can also push you to new limits you didn’t realize you had. Find someone creative in your community working in a different medium (or the same one) and approach them about working together. A friend of mine who draws abstract portraits was recently approached by a dancer who wants to collaborate on a project — she was terrified, but thrilled. I can not wait to see what they come up with together. Two creative minds are always better than one.
4. Make new friends. This may not sound risky, but meeting new people can really push your horizons. Are you following someone creative on instagram or twitter whose work you admire? Make a coffee date and meet them in real life. Expanding your creative circle will help keep you inspired and could push you creatively. Added bonus — maybe you’ll meet someone you could collaborate with on a creative project.
5. Take a class. I try to take a creative class in a medium I don’t know at least once a month. Even if I get bored with the topic (hello calligraphy) I always leave with my creative juices flowing and find it kick starts my creativity for the month. It can be scary to try something new but a class is a great way to put yourself out there, and you never know what might stick!