I’m a new blogger and the ‘blogging experts’ say to post at least two to three times a week for it to be effective.  That little bit of information has activated a couple of threads of ‘gremlin’ chatter for me. The most predominant is; you won’t have enough to say, you will run out of ideas, the creative well will run dry. Sound familiar to any of you?

It got me thinking about how to keep the creative juices flowing and what to do when I need a jump start.  My training and back ground as a visual artist helps. What works well in one medium translates across other mediums – including the medium of entrepreneurship.

Taking action VS waiting for inspiration

I have learned that you can actively invite in the creative muse rather than wait around for her to magically show up. I’ve come up with three easy ways to prime the creative pump. The 3 S’s; Studio, Sift and Stimulus can be used independently or all together to spark a new idea or direction

One of the best strategies I’ve found is simple – Go to the studio. Your “studio” might be your computer or your writing desk or a favorite coffee shop. It’s all about stepping into the realm of creating which is, in part, a state of mind, one that is receptive and open.  Going to your ‘place’ tells the muse – hey I’m here, you can come visit now. Once you are there, you want to be active otherwise you are playing the waiting game again. The activity can be light in fact the muse loves PLAY. As a visual artist, play means handling the materials and experimenting with mark making, colors, textures, looking at past work, pulling an art book off the shelf and just following any urges that show up. In a business context is can be playing with concepts, trying on business models, reviewing your history, pulling out your business plan or vision story and looking at the different elements of your business. Whether it’s an artistic or a business endeavor, immerse your self in the ‘space’ of it and be open to following urges.

The seeds to great new ideas are there, in your studio or office and you just need to find them. Do you ever get side tracked trying to clean your office because you pick up something to read and it gets you headed in a totally different direction? That’s exactly what sifting is all about. There are lots of places to look. Start by randomly sifting through the files in your office or on your computer, review old emails, newsletters, notes from clients / customers and resources you’ve collected. See what sparks your interest.  Look at things you have written or created in the past. What are the themes? What would you change today? Is there a new adaptation of the material.  Surf the net for related themes, similar web sites and other topics that call to you – again notice urges and follow them.

Sometimes what the creative muse needs is input from a totally different direction. Nothing like something brand new for the muse to feel it’s a party. He/she has been invited to. It can be as simple as picking up a magazine or book that is totally new to you and/or unrelated to your creative challenge. Surf web sites that interest you but are different from your norm. You can seek stimulus in a multitude of ways; take a walk, visit a science museum, rent a foreign film, talk to someone who works in a totally different occupation. As you do a stimulus activity, hold your creative intention lightly and look for connections. How might this new information or experience inform the thing you are working on?

The spark
The most important thing to remember is to listen for and follow urges – that’s your muse talking. The whole process of priming the idea pump is a lot like rubbing two sticks together to create a fire. You need some action, rubbing the two sticks together creates friction. You need some kindling, some context for the spark to catch and then you need to fan that spark and feed it more wood in order to build the fire.  The three S’s provide the action and the kindling. It’s up to you to notice the spark, fan it and add more wood. For those times when you are in super creative mode and have more ideas that you can use, find a way to save them. Start an idea book or collect them in a basket or a file on your computer. You will be glad you did.

Happy creating!