How Do You Climb Out of a Creative Rut?

Illustration of woman climbing a ladder

"I make sure to have several creative projects going, all at various stages in different mediums. I switch around when one isn't working. The most important thing is to get into the studio even when you don't want to and keep working on something, anything, every day."

-- Donna Marquet, senior lecturer in scenic design whose works have been featured in stage shows across the country and Nickelodeon programs All That and Drake & Josh

"I fall into creative ruts by doing the same thing the same way for too long. I've found trying something completely different, even as a hobby, can be really inspiring. I took piano lessons for the first time at 41. It gave me a whole new set of metaphors for problem solving that helped me reinvent my illustration work."

-- Chris Philpot ('97), an illustrator whose work has appeared in The Atlantic, Car and Driver, Fast Company, Esquire, National Geographic Kids, The New York Times and Wired

"I turn down some music very low where I can barely hear it. Inevitably, I hear something that isn't there, like just certain frequencies. That always spawns musical ideas. For lyrics, laying outside in the hammock and relaxing my brain helps me come up with lots of ideas."

-- April Samuels, a music major from 1987 to 1990. She's a drummer whose songs were featured in the Discovery Channel show Outward Bound, and is founder of the nonprofit organization Breast Cancer Can Stick It! Foundation Inc.

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