Scraping the Bottom of the Ideas Pot? Try This!

Sometimes the flow of creativity just STOPS, for whatever reason. It feels suspiciously like scraping the bottom of the pot for the last bits of dinner (thus the title of this post)–you hope and hope you’ve got enough in there to feed you, but you fear you’ve run out.

For instance, I’m running into a lot of problems coming up with new topics for this blog, especially for my Monday and Saturday posts. For almost every idea I have, it feels like I’ve already done it (or I can look back through my posts and prove I’ve already done it).

So what’s a creative blogger girl to do, when it’s time to come up with a new week of posts but there’s no more ideas? Simple–revisit and revamp! And that’s what I suggest to you, if you’re stuck in a similar creativity rut:

#1: Look Back through Old Ideas

Whatever creative project you’re stuck on, look back through your completed projects, especially the ones you’re most proud of. This alone may be inspiration enough to start a new project or to get you going again on your “stuck” project, but if you’re still stuck, pick out 2 or 3 completed projects you’re not quite as proud of, and move on to step 2.

(Example: I’ve looked back through my old blog posts and found a few that, well, aren’t my best work.)

#2: Think: “How could I do this better?”

Study those completed projects. Even though they’re complete, is there anything you would like to go back and do differently? Are there any choices you regret making during the creative process last time? Review your creative project with a critical eye, and really try to see what could be done differently. You don’t have to tear up the completed project–just make notes about what you see that could be done better.

(Example: While reading through my not-so-awesome blogs, I started thinking, “Hmm, I could make that paragraph shorter and more expressive…ooh, I could add in a bit more research to make this point stronger.”)

#3: Make An Old Project New Again

Using your completed projects as guidelines, start reworking and reshaping those ideas. Like I said, don’t get rid of the completed work–use it as mental scaffolding to build your new creative project. Try new things with old ideas; the old dogs might just have a few new tricks you didn’t see before. Bring in some research or some other people’s opinions as well…whatever helps!

(Example: After discovering I could write these blog posts better, I drafted new versions of them and read them aloud to myself, seeing if the words flowed better this time, or if the posts were stronger this time.)

Result: Better Quality Work, Happier You!

Once you start grappling with actual ideas instead of having anxiety about not being creative, your mental creativity factory can begin to work again–or at least, mine has! You may not finish your revising/revamping work right away, especially if you get energized to work on your new project again, and that’s perfectly okay. Let the creativity flow as it will, and I promise you that you’ll be happier with it!

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