Creativity is a cruel mistress. You never know when she'll arrive and, even scarier, when she'll leave. As I've learned over the last 5 months or so, it's not really something you can control.
Or can you? Just like knowledge, the more images, thoughts and ideas you expose yourself to, the more you'll get out of life. And for me, it's the same with creativity.
I look back on my previous work and I can recall what I was feeling on the day I made the piece. Unlike some artists, I think my best work happens when I'm happy; I don't have a "suffering artist"-type attitude. Thankfully, I'm happy about 98% of the time. :D The other 2% of the time, I have to force myself to create and then I'm happy again anyway. :D
On those days where I feel like my creative meter is at zero, I peruse library books, Etsy, Flickr, my own stash of supplies - and really, inspiration is EVERYWHERE. You just have to be open to the experience! Another thing that helps me is stream-of-consciousness writing. I used to think that this was something only crazy people did at all-night diners. Au contraire! It really helps! I can go from Mason jar to Phish song just by thinking or writing it down. It's weird - it's sort of like having a telepathic conversation with yourself.
And speaking of Etsy - another, very addictive inspiration mechanism that I've discovered is the Treasury. Now, it used to be that there were only certain spots that could be filled with Treasuries, and you'd have to wait until the wee small hours of the morning to even get a shot at it. Now, any Etsy member can curate a gallery anytime they want! I started making mine last night - I've already made two, and I've got ideas for far more. Treasuries are a win-win; one is able to cull from some amazing work for inspiration, and also help out your fellow sellers by posting their items that may not have been seen by other buyers (and I found some stuff that I wouldn't have, also). If you're on Etsy, I highly recommend looking at and making Treasuries - it's really fun! It worked the other way, too - I made it to the "Front Page" last night! :D (See photo at the top - mine is the Mountie pendant on the bottom)
Flickr also allows members to "curate" galleries. I love this too! I've made about 20 galleries, with topics that range from coupons to rainy days. It's almost impossible to NOT get inspired by the millions of photos and ideas presented there. Sometimes, it's overwhelming!
If you want to kick it "old school", the library is the best place to go. I love hiding out in the stacks with oversized art books that are too expensive for my budget, but that are all there, waiting to be read. I get all-out psyched with inspiration - there's something about the tactile nature of books that can't be replicated. It's also easier to stare at a painting in a book as opposed to a computer screen, even if it is a no-glare iPad.
Well, it worked! Just by writing this blog entry, I feel more inspired. I can't wait to take that inspiration and (hopefully!) make something worth displaying! :D