The rut: like a rainy day for your brain, we’ve all been stuck in the dull, gray doldrums which produce anything but a brainstorm. Sometimes creative work-flow comes easy, but when it’s hard, it’s good to have tangible reminders of how awesome you are. Turns out inspirational wall art has moved way beyond soaring eagles and sports metaphors. So, we asked calligrapher and positive-babe-extraordinaire Laurel Essl of Blue Eye Brown Eye to show us how she keeps her studio full of stylish motivation and to share with us the top ten ways she stays inspired.
1. Seek inspiration, but don’t compare.
The internet is bountiful in beautiful images, creative souls, and talent. It’s a never-ending source of inspiration, but it’s also a place where you can get bogged down in comparison. I try to do my best to stay focused on the work I’m doing and not compare myself to others, because you know what they say, comparison is the thief of joy!
2. Turn to the books.
When I’m feeling stuck on a project, I go to my bookshelf. I have tons of design and art books that I love to flip through to get my brain out of a creative block. There’s something about flipping the pages and that tangible feeling that relaxes me and gets my design juices flowing.
3. I do me, not them.
Circling back to comparison, in order to keep a positive mindset, I tell myself: you do you. Everyone has a different style and aesthetic, and embracing your original vibe is what will keep you on the right path.
4. Surround yourself with the good folks.
Working for yourself can often be lonely, so I make an effort to get out and see my friends during the week. Many of my friends work in the creative industry as well, and I often find they can relate to what’s weighing on me, or give me great feedback on projects. Whether it’s a quick coffee, breakfast, or a cocktail (or two) at the end of the day, I try to prioritize friendship.
5. Rest your brain.
There’s typically an ebb and flow to my workload, and when work piles up in those busy cycles, it can be really hard to clear your brain to think clearly. In the past year, I’ve made making time for myself a priority- whether it’s going to the work out class I want to attend, escaping to the art museum for a morning of inspiration, or cuddling with my pups, it’s important to take just a minute or two – for yourself.
6. Get out of town.
If you have the ability to get out of town for the weekend – do it. I find myself most inspired when I travel, and always come back to work jazzed to get going.
7. Do work just for you.
Clients, you need them. Gotta have them to make that money, honey. But sometimes doing projects just for you helps you do your best work for your clients.
8. Go buy yourself some flowers.
Treat yourself every week to a few fresh stems. Or if flowers aren’t your jam, get a cactus or succulent. When I’ve got flowers and plants in my work space, it makes me happier. So simple. Nature is a magical thing.
9. Call it a day.
Some days are more inspired than others. If it’s “one of those days” – and this happens to me often with calligraphy, I shut it down for the day and start afresh the next. And know that’s ok.
10. Share what you know.
Inspiring others helps keep me inspired. I love teaching calligraphy and sharing information I’ve learned over the years. I’ve only found sharing what you know to be a positive, never a negative. Sharing is caring.