A List of Things to Do When Your Muse is on Vacation

I’m a firm believer in showing up and doing the work even when the Muse is on vacay but I also get that there are days when you just aren’t feelin’ it. Here’s my list of things I like to do (and a few new ones that I just thought up!!) when I’ve lost that spark. None of them involve trolling the web for “ideas” to pin to your board. I know you and you already have 14,658 pins that you won’t ever look at again. These are hands-on activities that hopefully will remind you that you actually like your work and maybe just need a little push in the right direction.

  • Go through your scraps bin. If it’s a paper drawer or a fabric bag. Look through it and see if anything catches your eye. Make a new pile to play with.
  • Grab a stack of magazines and cut out only orange things. Or only yellow things. Blue works too. Or just flowers or watches. Pick something and see what you can find and then make something out of what you’ve scavenged.
  • Practice your off-season sport. Do you regularly make visual art? Try cross-stitch for a while instead. Are you a writer? Pick up a hand craft you haven’t done in a while.
  • Take a trip to the craft store and buy one new supply/material to try. Set a $10 limit if that helps you. Go home and spend only 10 minutes playing with it. If you stop before you are done, you’ll want to go back tomorrow and pick up where you left off.
  • Take a trip to the resale shop or used book store. See if you can find something that you can refashion in your work. Again, set a $10 limit if you need to.
  • Ask someone whose work you admire to collaborate on a project together. Make a plan and then get to work. Swap by mail, it’s magical.
  • Draw in your journal with your non-dominant hand. Make up a story to go with it. Jot your ideas down.
  • Go to your recycle bin and get a cereal box or plastic container. What can you imagine making with it? Make it.
  • Ask a kid for an idea or better yet, ask them to start something that you can then finish. Ask them to tell you the story behind it. Be sure to ask a kid you know! Talking to stranger’s kids is usually frowned upon.
  • Look in your closet for an old tshirt or an old piece of jewelry or even an old shoe. What can you do with it? Can you use paint or markers on it? Or take it apart and use it with another project?
  • Take a walk around the block. While you are out, find a straightish stick between 12 and 18 inches long. Bring it home and turn it into a magic wand with the first 4 art supplies you find.
  • If you have a gelli plate, get it out and make prints with only one stencil and 3 colors of paint. Try to change it up at least 10 times with just these supplies.
  • Call a friend on the phone and make them tell you about the dream they had last night. Illustrate a scene from the dream.
  • Spend some quality time watching tv. Nah, I’m just kidding. Read a book by a non-English speaker that’s been translated to English. Take note of the descriptive language that’s different from what you usually hear in your native language.
  • Grab a box of pasta out of your pantry. Grab some Elmer’s glue and make a picture with it like a child. Bonus points if you make a narwhal or a pangolin.

Some of these are pretty silly, I get it. But sometimes we just need to expand our idea of what creativity is so we can get back in the groove. Add your favorite Muse invoker in the comments below. I wanna hear your ideas! If you try something and you really enjoyed yourself (notice I didn’t say that you think the thing you made is perfect) tag me on social media so I can enjoy the ride with you!