Have you ever hit a season in life where you just feel… flat? Like your bucket is empty. Your inspiration is non-existent. No matter how hard you try, you can’t seem to summon that flow of energy and passion like you used to? I’ve been there. And I want you to know — you’re not broken, used up, or “past your prime.”
Your creative spark is simply suffocating beneath the weight of all your responsibilities.
Because — let’s face it. Especially if you're multi-passionate like me, life can get overwhelming, fast. Between work, family, friends, health and just getting the basics done, it’s A LOT. We wake up. Survive. Sleep. Repeat. It never stops. Especially when you’re in the trenches with young children. But deep in my heart, I know I’m a creator. And I’ve had to learn how to honor this instead of dismissing it. I now know how to create. I’ve honed a process I use to create, to write songs, to do this podcast, to build my coaching practice, and to get it done, to finish and follow through so I can feel proud of myself. That’s something that’s really important to me. If I don’t do it, I tend to get depressed.
Here’s the hard truth nobody likes to talk about —
When life gets too full for too long, even the most successful, resilient people lose their creative edge and want to give up. We aren’t machines.
It’s time to stop treating yourself like one.
Today’s pep talk is going to focus on how to find inspiration, how to find your muse. I’ve been drawing from Julia Cameron’s book, The Artist’s Way for this pep-talk series. She offers tools artists and creatives can use to get things into the flow state.
I want to introduce you to Julia Cameron’s second tool for overcoming creative blocks and connecting with or reconnecting with your muse, and it’s called the Artist Date.
What they are, Artist Dates are solo outings or activities that nurture your creativity and allow you to explore new experiences and interests. Cameron suggests you schedule them and honor them and do them weekly.
They aren’t as hard as they might sound.
In order to get the ideas flowing of how you could do this, in a simple way, I thought it would be fun to walk you through real-life examples of successful artists, musicians, entrepreneurs and creatives who have overcome creative blocks and share what they did to find their inspiration.
Now before I share these real-life examples, will you promise me one thing?
Will you promise me you won’t compare your own before story to their after story?
Because the examples I’m sharing have incredible after stories. We tend to dismiss their before stories, and by that, I mean the struggles, the setbacks, the doubt, all the human things they faced. We focus on the after stories of success.
But I’m going to share their struggles, their own words, and some key insights on how they found inspiration and reconnected with their muse.
Our first example is Claude Monet.
Monet said, “My wish is to stay always like this, living quietly in a corner of nature.”
I agree Claude. Can I call you Claude? Can we be on a first name basis mister Monet? Because I feel kindred to you when you say you get your inspiration from nature. Me! too! I think Monet had countless Artist Dates in nature. And for me, I have to say I do the same. It’s my favorite Artist Date and it is free, and accessible, and doesn’t require a lot of planning or thinking ahead on my part. The only thing I like to have along with me is a notebook and a fine point pen.
The beauty and complexity of the natural world have inspired countless artists. Nature’s patterns, colors, and rhythms often find their way into various forms of art.
Use nature as your muse. We can learn alot from Claude. He was showing us how to see, to really see. It’s so beautiful.
My next example is Walt Disney.
Walt is one of my favorite creatives and visionaries, honestly. I think if I would have met him, we’d be instant friends. I am a big lover of Disney Land and the backstory of what it took to create that marvel is a great story for another day.
But he faced numerous setbacks and creative challenges throughout his career.
His muse, his inspiration came from a mouse. A real life, little mouse that he befriended during a season of homelessness he experienced in his younger years.
He was willing to take risks and push the boundaries of animation. Where did his resilience come from to stay true to his vision and persevere through adversity?
He found inspiration by surrounding himself with other talented, creative individuals. He knew he couldn’t do it alone. He knew the power of when individuals are brought together, share ideas, and support each other, that magic can happen.
I think we underestimate this in our day, honestly. We think we have to go it alone. There are periods of loneliness we’ll go through with our creative work, but that doesn’t mean we have to stay lonely.
Perhaps the kind of Artist Date you need to pursue is the kind that involves other people. This is part of why I love book clubs and dinner parties so much.
Walk knew how to surround himself with a talented team of creatives and fostered a collaborative environment. I find this deeply inspiring.
My third example is Albert Einstein.
Albert said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world.”
And so, you could have an Artist Date with your own imagination and dreams. Do you take time to cultivate your imagination?
My fourth example is Alicia Keys, a musician and songwriter. I really love her.
Alicia is known for her soulful and innovative music. Early in her career, she experienced creative burnout and struggled to write new songs for her album.
She decided to take a break from the music industry to recharge and reconnect with her creativity. She went on a long Artist Date you could say, during this time. She traveled and explored new interests, and reflected on her life. She used personal experiences and emotions as a source of inspiration for her music, often drawing from her own life to write heartfelt songs.
And so her story underscores the importance of taking breaks and allowing time for self-discovery. Creative burnout can happen to anyone, and stepping back to recharge can lead to a fresh perspective.
Her ability to channel her personal experiences and emotions into her music highlights the authenticity and relatability can be achieved when artists draw from their own lives.
My fifth example is Maya Angelou.
Maya said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Whenever I sit down and outline a podcast, I ask myself how I hope I can help you feel? I try to distill it down to one word. Today’s word is ‘capable’ I hope you feel like you are capable of finding inspiration, that you can do this for yourself in your own way!
And what Maya is speaking to here is when she’s speaking to how you feel when you’re with other people is the importance of relationships, to pay attention to how being around certain people or groups of people, how you feel.
Our interactions with others, as well as the complexities of human relationships, can provide rich material for creative expression.
If you’re seeking fresh inspiration, but aren’t sure where to start, go at it from the angle of asking yourself, “how do I want to feel?” Then try and identify a person who has helped you feel that way when you’ve interacted with them. It doesn’t have to be a real person, it can be a fictional character from a book, a movie.
Inspiration can come from asking yourself, what feeling do I want to create from? It’s a fun exercise to try and tap into fresh inspiration and find your muse.
My last example is Frida Kahlo.
Frida said, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”
And it sounds to me here that she found inspiration in overcoming challenges and adversity.
I love Frida’s self portraits, but especially the eyes. I love to get lost in the eyes of her self-portraits, her eyes tell stories and I can tell she faced challenges and overcame them and there is strength inside of her. She drew from her own sense of self-respect.
She was driven to create something meaningful to her. It’s really cool to think about, your inspiration can come from your own story, your own adversity.
And so where does inspiration come from?
It can feel like such a mystery.
Inspiration often arises from a deep connection with your surroundings and a willingness to explore and express the world as perceived through your own, unique lens.
Don’t be stingy with yourself here.
Let yourself be free.
For more inspiration on finding inspiration, sign up here for the newsletter. I would love to help you find your muse.
In this mini course, I'll take you through the Emotion Coaching framework that is a gamechanger for cultivating more peace. Plus you'll discover how to shift the 'frustration habit' and parent from a place of trusting yourself more.
In this free mini course, I'll take you through the Emotion Coaching framework I've taught hundreds of moms and dads for cultivating more peace. Plus you'll discover how to shift the 'frustration habit' and parent from a place of trusting yourself more.