I brushed the dust off my old Nikon camera and took it for a spin around the house this week. While the gear itself is probably worth very little money, my D3100 will always have sentimental value. It's the first camera that ever made me excited to take pictures, and even though it's considered ancient and inferior by today's standards, it still takes decent snaps! Granted, it does struggle with indoor lighting. Unless the sun is shining bright through the windows, the images come out grainy or blurry (or both), depending on the settings. So, out of 30 pictures, only two are worth keeping.

I think that's what's so frustrating about creative endeavors. You can work on something for hours and barely have anything to show for it, but success is still measured by the numbers. Over the years, I've had the chance to rent, buy, and otherwise fiddle with higher quality cameras, and it's humbling to see what kind of magic you can create despite the limitations. It can (surprisingly) be a solid source of inspiration.

That being said, I'm sharing some things that help me out of a creative rut:

Find a Challenge
I've mentioned this a few times before, but this is my favorite way to get the juices flowing. This can mean limiting my creative tools, learning new crafts or a mix of the two. A couple years ago I bought an SLR film camera as an alternative to shooting with my DSLR. When I'm uninspired with my writing, I force myself to type my stream of consciousness or write in a specific structure.

Take a Shower
I read an article recently about the importance of rest and the different kinds of rest we should take, and it's all the explanation I need for this point:

"While waking rest would have me zoning out, free to float around in my thoughts, deliberate rest might include a bike ride, a game of Scrabble... Waking and deliberate rest have intention in common. That's when the unconscious mind can get to work. Even while you're off gardening or you're running on the running trail, or you're out with the dog, part of your mind is still processing this stuff, turning over ideas and trying out different possibilities. Ever have a breakthrough in the shower? This is why."

Many of these ideas come from the book Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less, by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang, and as I speak, the book is on hold for me at the library. I'm picking it up today because rest sounds like the most luxurious thing in the world right now.

Not a cocktail, not a shot, not a beer - wine. It can be white wine, red wine, sparkling wine, dry wine, even a wine spritzer will suffice. Wine helps me unwind, and it helps my brain relax, which is often all I need to get past the rut. If it's late and I have to work the next day, or on the off chance I'm just not in the mood for wine, hot tea can sometimes help.