How to Regain Creative Motivation After You’ve Burned Out

Dann Albright 25-05-2015

When writers can’t come up with anything to write, it’s called “writer’s block 10 More Websites That Help Cure Writer's Block With Writing Prompts Having a tough time writing? These websites will definitely give you the boost you need. Read More .” But creatives of all types experience this phenomenon — photographers, programmers, painters, chefs, musicians, poets, and that’s just scratching the surface.


Sometimes it manifests as difficulty coming up with ideas. Sometimes it’s a lack of motivation 10 Motivational TED Talks To Help You Chip Away At Your Mental Blocks The valuable lesson from the lives of achievers is that they chip away at their mental blocks more consistently than others. Ten TED Talks underscore one simple thing – it’s all in the mind. Read More . And sometimes you can’t really put your finger on it — it’s just not working. Here’s how to get your creative motivation back.

Take Some Time Away

If you’re feeling burnt out and you need to rekindle your creative motivation, taking some time away from your usual creative endeavor can be a big help, especially if you mostly engage your creative pursuit in a professional capacity.


When you’re getting frustrated and discouraged because you can’t come up with a new creative idea, it might seem counterintuitive to take a break from writing, or painting, or gardening, or whatever it is you’re doing. But letting your brain disengage can give it the room it needs to get your creative energy back.

You don’t need to go on a week-long vacation, though that could very likely do the trick. Spending an afternoon at the park with a book or hiking through the woods on a Saturday might be enough to refresh your creative side.


Do Something Different

Even if you love what you do, sometimes you need more than a break. If you’re feeling stuck, trying your hand at something new might help spark your creative inspiration again.

For example, if you’re a writer, try painting something. If you’re a chef, try a simple woodworking project 9 Beautiful Woodworking Projects For Your Home Office Do you work from home? Have you grown bored of your mundane home office? We've got the cure for you. Read More . Musicians, why not make something with an Arduino Forget Pies & Brandy: 8 Arduino Projects To Fill Your Holidays Has your Arduino been sitting around gathering dust? Well, no more. Today I’ve scoured Instructables to find 8 fun, family friendly, or just really cool Arduino projects for you to have a go at these... Read More ?


You can find room for creativity in almost anything, and using your brain to come up with and execute ideas in new ways on new media can help you get out of your rut. The further away you can get from your usual activities, the better. If you’re on your computer all day, try your hand at learning basic DIY Learn Basic DIY Skills Online With YouTube While DIY falls in and out of fashion depending on the state of the economy, individual styles, and the availability of professionals and materials, there will always be someone, somewhere keen to learn basic DIY... Read More . If you do more physical work, try dabbling in digital art 5 Online Sources For Digital Art Tutorials Every so often, I believe that everyone has some sort of creative urge. Whether it turns into a beautiful painting on canvas or simple bathroom graffiti, it's all driven by the same fire. Fortunately, with... Read More .


Making your brain think and solve problems in new ways is sure to get you thinking creatively again, and you can bring that energy back to your main creative pursuit.

Get Inspired with Creative Apps

Sometimes, all you need to regain some creative momentum is a dose of inspiration. You can’t force inspiration, but there are a few great tools you can use to kickstart it.

Oflow [No Longer Available] is an app that has a variety of creative prompts and tools that will help get your brain thinking in novel ways. Brainsparker is an idea-generating app that asks you to think about problems in ways you’ve never done before.



The Creative Whack Pack app app is an electronic version of the popular card pack that contains five different types of cards to help you come up with ideas, make decisions on them, and help you get started on taking action.

The IDEO Method Cards app [No Longer Available] is similar and starts you out with eight sample cards so you can trial it. If you decide to upgrade, you can pay for the full set of 51 cards.

Work on a Meaningful Project

Sometimes the drudgery of everyday life gets to you and saps you of motivation. Working on a meaningful project, either for yourself or someone else, is a great way to get your fire back. It will usually be enough to get you back into your groove on other work.

Anything can be a “meaningful project” — it just depends on what’s meaningful to you.


Maybe you want to do something for yourself (as a personal example, I’m working on a large photo documentation project on the three years that I’ve spent living in the UK). Maybe you want to do something for someone else, like write a children’s book for a friend’s kids or whip up a program to solve someone’s practical problems.


Taking on a project that’s meaningful to you can be very beneficial in that’s there’s very little pressure involved. Sometimes the pressure of deadlines and other people depending on you can stifle your creative process. Creating something away from that pressure gives you the freedom to think outside the box without fear of consequence.

If nothing comes to mind, you can look to volunteer your creative skills for people and organizations who need them. You can even volunteer in just a few minutes Volunteer Professional Skills To Charity In 5 Minutes With Sparked Read More on Sparked, a website that lets you use your skills to help non-profit organizations. also has a wide variety of volunteering opportunities. Just enter a keyword pertaining to a creative pursuit that you enjoy and you’ll get some options.

Read (or Watch) Something Creative

Sometimes the best thing you can do to get your creative spark back is to read about other people’s creative problems, processes, and solutions. They may not be dealing with the same issue — or even be in a remotely related field — but what’s important is that they’re thinking creatively.

In many cases, that’s enough to get you inspired again.

Not sure where to go for inspiration? You can try these seven inspirational websites 7 Amazingly Inspirational Websites That You Forgot to Bookmark The websites below are a potpourri of interesting conversations, good news from around the world, uplifting advice, and thought provoking ideas. All of them are built around the hope that you will use them to... Read More , which Saikat called “a potpourri of interesting conversations, good news from around the world, uplifting advice, and thought provoking ideas.” One of my own favorite sources of creative inspiration is a website and newsletter called Creative Something. Lots of people like TED talks for inspiration 10 Motivational TED Talks To Help You Chip Away At Your Mental Blocks The valuable lesson from the lives of achievers is that they chip away at their mental blocks more consistently than others. Ten TED Talks underscore one simple thing – it’s all in the mind. Read More , too.


Looking for something more specific? Try 5 Methods to Find Inspiration for Your Photography Online 5 Methods To Find Inspiration For Your Photography Online Read More  or 4 Great & Inspiring Sites for Creative Writers to Visit 4 Great & Inspiring Sites For Creative Writers To Visit Read More . You can also find loads of inspiration for any topic you want on Pinterest. Just search for “unique [your area here]” and you’re almost certain to find something good.

Plus, there are a lot of great books on creativity for you to consume. If you’re looking for one to get started, try Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield and Shawn Coyne, or, if you want a more physically creative experience, Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith.

If you have other recommendations for great books, websites, blogs, or other sources of creative inspiration, please share them in the comments below!

Get Creative!

Every creative, regardless of their medium, has trouble with motivation and inspiration at times. But by taking a break, trying something new, using an idea-sparking app, or reading some inspiring articles and posts, you can kickstart the process of getting out of your creative rut.

What do you do when you get stuck and can’t get motivated or inspired to be creative? Share your best strategies below!

Image credits: Concept of creativity and power, Young man reading, Attributes of arts, Hand draws a pencil, In the library via Shutterstock.

Related topics: Burnout, Creativity, Inspiration, Motivation.

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  1. Amy Lee
    September 10, 2018 at 8:01 pm

    Your suggestions are ones I've used before, they resonated with me especially as a result of my recent journey in regaining my creativity. A book I've found useful is "The Artist's Way" it's provided me with invaluable guidance. I've written about this topic and overcoming art block on my site {} . The idea of an art block is what occurs when artists/ any creative loses motivation as you describe and I think is important to understand and not perceive as laziness in order for creativity to be gained again.

  2. Engin Erayd?n
    May 25, 2015 at 6:09 pm

    Sparked has changed. Not a volunteer-projects site anymore or ? can not find how to use it.