10 Ways to Summon Creativity

PaperFinch Design

PaperFinch Design

Happy Friday, boss babes! I’m sure you’ve had an exciting week filled with some challenges and lots of successes. Speaking of challenges, something that gives all of us a run for our money is staying in a creative zone. The work we do requires originality on the daily, which isn’t the problem. The problem is that there are lots of things commanding our attention and resources and this can often get in the way of creativity. It’s gonna be pretty hard, if not impossible, to churn out an authentic design or clever copy if our head isn’t in the right space and we’re feeling bogged down. So today we’ve got some tips from watercolor artist Crystina Castiglione of The Messy Painter to help. Crystina has often had to deal with unblocking creativity and has learned some great ways that work along her journey from art teacher to business owner. Ten, in fact!

Take a peek and don’t be shy in trying something new to help you summon the creative energy you need to smash some goals. Enjoy her words & stay boss. xx -G


There is a lot of chatter out there these days about “unblocking creativity,” and tips for helping you overcome it, but I have found that many of these tips are repetitive, a little too vague or generalized and don’t actually give specific examples of how to help yourself when you feel super stuck. This is something I have studied pretty hard and worked even harder to overcome in the past decade. Being an artist literally relies on the ability to create brand new ideas all the time, whether you're blocked or not. I find that I have to "summon" inspiration rather than wait for it to arrive. Of course not all of these are for everyone, and they may not all apply to your situation, but giving one or two a try definitely can’t hurt!

Here are my top 10 tips for getting unblocked:

1) Read a book. It doesn't need to be business-related, in fact the more leisurely the better. Your brain needs a chance to exercise its imagination, so something that allows you to picture what you are reading is what I find to be best. Or just thumb through really interesting illustrative ones. Kid's books are truly my favorite for this. 

2) Get bored. Like, really bored. Turn off your wi-fi, put your phone in another room, unplug your tv, maybe even take a nap! Ever wonder why your best ideas come at the most inopportune times? Like in the shower, while you're driving or when you finally lie down to sleep? It's because you finally RESTED and allowed your brain to actually think uninterrupted. 

3) Go DO something. You don't need to be into the outdoors to get outside of your house. Go to a museum, take a bike ride, or sit in your backyard. Just get out of your workspace to clear your head. 

4) Stream-of-consciousness journaling. This is one of my favorite techniques! Typically when you can't come up with any ideas or are feeling in a funk, it's because something is burdening your brain. I have found that the best way to work through this is by doing a great big brain dump into a journal. Don't worry about how it's written, spelling or grammar. The point is literally to just get it all out, whether it makes sense or not, and never look at it again. 

5) Go grab coffee, lunch or do any activity with a friend you find inspiring. Inspiring people fuel each other, and chances are you'll be bouncing ideas off each other in no time. 

6) DECLUTTER. I'm a HUGE believer in keeping a clean, organized and clutter-free workspace. It's hard as an artist because you always think "oh I'll use that *for something, someday*. But no, no you won't. If you haven't used it in the past 6 months to 1 year, get rid of it. You can donate it to an elementary art teacher, local arts non-profit group, or maybe a friend who could use it. When you clear your physical space, you also clear your mental space. I like to start and end each day by doing a quick 5 to 10 minute sweep of my workspace.

7) Take a social media cleanse. A REAL one. Anytime I’m feeling extremely bogged down, or at a loss for ideas, it’s almost always because I’m playing the comparison game in my head and thinking about all the things I’ve seen other people do. Taking a week - 2 week long social media cleanse where I delete all apps from my phone ALWAYS does the trick. As businesses that rely on social media to market themselves, this can be scary - but apps like Planoly, Unum or Unfold can be utilized to schedule out your posts so that even while you’re taking a break, your business is still rolling.

8) Do something different. Maybe you’re a photographer, or a writer, or a painter - step outside your medium and play with something else. I am a painter, but it helps me creatively to come up with new ideas when I play around with collage, or styling photographs, or even dabbling in writing little short stories. Even though your job might be creative, you still need a hobby outside of what you do every day as your job.

9) Watch a beautiful movie. I am obsessed with beautifully made, cinematic movies where every scene is like a still shot photograph. The more colors the better. Wes Anderson, Sophia Coppola, and Spike Jonze are some of my favorite directors for really creatively made movies. 

10) Change up your style. Whether you work from home or go into an office, you probably tend the get into a rhythm of getting ready and wearing a certain rotation of outfits. When I need an extra boost of creativity, I think about switching it up - if I can express myself creativity through my hair, make up or outfit, then I find that I can also extend that creativity to whatever I am doing that day.

About Crystina Castiglione: Crystina was born in New England and raised in Florida. Her work is inspired by everything coastal and colorful. The Messy Painter specializes in custom watercolor designs and calligraphy for wedding stationery and events, as well as watercolor and ink textile, pattern and illustration designs, art prints and more. Traveling around the world has also played a great role in the way Crystina creates. She believes there is no shortage of inspiration out there and that you just need to get out and go find it. For more info and to check out her work, you can view her website and visit her on Instagram.