Tips for When a Creative Doesn’t Feel Creative

I’ve been in a bit of a slump lately.

There’s so much good stuff happening right now: books releasing, speaking engagements, book signings, school starting, toddlers talking – all of it is awesome. But it’s also all really overwhelming.


Currently, I am caught in the vortex of necessary work, which isn’t nearly as fun as spinning in the vortex of creatively inspired work. Launching books requires a different set of skills – the skills that don’t come as comfortably or naturally to this creative mama.

Marketing myself? Oh, how I hate it. And yet, it’s a necessary part of the writer’s job. Lately, however, I’ve been missing the art. I miss the craft of writing. But with little time in my busy days to dive back into it, I’m looking for other ways to feed my creative soul.

Because if the creativity doesn’t work its way out, I just might break down.

This is a common theme among creative mothers. We love our art, but the time in which to divulge in it is minimal, particularly when there are young children at home. I spoke to one creative mother a few weeks ago who confided that despite having consistent free time in her days with all her children finally in school, she still found it difficult to tap into the fullness of her creativity.

“I get them on the bus, then head to my craft room, and I just stare at the supplies. I finally have the time I need, but I’m feeling entirely uninspired.”

Oh, it’s a tightrope, this life of creativity and mothering. We inch our way along, at times completely unable to indulge in art at all, because motherhood takes up all the time.


And there are other times when the cracks of our days lengthen into wider spaces of free time, and the art won’t flow – such a cruel joke.

So what are we to do?

Here are a few tips for the creative who isn’t feeling creative

1.) Don’t Force It

The days that I most enjoy my family are the days that I don’t wake up demanding artistic perfection from myself. When I accept that there simply won’t be time to squeeze in the art, I can focus fully on the kids without an ounce of guilt.



[Tweet “An artistic mother is fueled by creative inspiration, and inspiration cannot be forced.”]

2.) Look for the Art in a New Place

I am a writer – that’s what I do. I’m not a decorator or a baker. I can’t sew a button on a shirt, and though I love singing, I cannot create music on my own. My gift lies almost solely in words. But what do I do when the words won’t come?

I look for other ways to let the art out.


I’m not a good photographer, but I like trying my hand at it. My favorite artistic expression outside of writing is through the camera. No one will be paying me for my photos anytime soon (or ever, for that matter), but the simple act of pulling my camera out and playing around can unlock the words in mighty ways.



[Tweet “Art begets art, and creativity will inevitably find its way out of an artistic mother.”]

3.) Simply Do Something

I’ve said it before – if moms can do one thing every day outside of mothering, we often find that we can breath a little easier. The accomplishment of knowing that I got one thing done lets me rest my head peacefully on the pillow at night.

Some days, inspiration hits and the time to create is magically present. Those days are a gift, and I cherish them. But they’re rare.


Most days are a little more parsed out. Wallowing in frustration doesn’t help anyone, so I simply take heart in my ability to do something. Maybe it’s post a picture on Instagram, or perhaps I have time to punch out a blog post. Maybe I can manage nothing more than a few necessary emails, or maybe I’ll have time to work on my next book.

[Tweet “There isn’t time for everything on any given day, but there’s always time for something.”]

At the end of this life, I want to look back without regret. I’ll see seasons of life that were all mothering, and seasons that gave way to the art. But I’m certain I’ll not look back and see a life that somehow balanced it all.

And that’s okay.


In just one short month, my second book hits bookshelves! 

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance MomLC-BookCover* is now available for preorder, and I do hope you’ll enjoy it. The book is chock full of encouragement for moms trying to walk this tightrope of creativity and motherhood.

Check out our Instagram feed for daily inspiration, and our website for more information on the book!

*affiliate link included

An Invitation to Celebrate a Life Creative

I was twenty years old, and I was living alone in Kiev, Ukraine.

Not totally alone, of course. I was living with a young, Ukrainian couple who spoke English (but often refused to speak it because they wanted me to become fluent in Russian), but I didn’t have any peers with me on the trip.

I was in Ukraine for two solid months before I even met another American. Looking back, I know this was a good thing. It forced me to adapt to the culture and the language, and it made me brave.

But I was lonely those four months. Trying to communicate in another language is exhausting. In the early days when I was completely alone, my only respite came from 3:00-4:00 in the afternoons after school.

I’d arrive home to an empty apartment and turn on the TV. Beverly Hills 90210 played weekday afternoons, and the translation lagged just enough behind the English that I could tune it out and listen to the show in my native tongue.

I never watched that show as a young girl, but I saw nearly every episode in Ukraine. I became well acquainted with Brandon, and Brenda, and Dillan, and Kelly, and all the others whose names I can’t remember now…

Outside of riveting television, though, I found my greatest comfort inside the pages of my journals. I wrote until my hand hurt, recording everything from the mundane moments of my days to the hysterical gaffes I made (I slipped on ice and fell on my butt more than once rushing to and from school).

After a weekend excursion to Prague, I came home with an English language copy of the book Jane Eyre, which I’d found in a little store near Charles Bridge. I devoured that book twice in my remaining months in Ukraine, and suddenly my journal pages were filled with poetic imagery. I used language like, “the leaves dance to the ground in a silent waltz,” and “the birds soar above my head on wings of freedom.”


Twenty-Year-Olds who have too much alone time, that’s who.

It’s been 18 years since that life-changing experience. 18 years since I sat on a bench on a Ukrainian hillside overlooking the Dnieper River, and vowed to become a storyteller.

The book that began simmering and bubbling in my heart all those years ago is now receiving rave reviews, and I still can’t believe that dream came true.

But what’s even more amazing is that it was just the beginning. That was only the first spark in my creative journey. It’s been a slow burn, sometimes dimmed by the pressures of every day life.


Motherhood slowed down the dream, but in a good way, because motherhood was a dream in and of itself. I’m living both dreams side-by-side, and it’s a messy little blending of the two. But I wouldn’t have it any other way, because this is better than anything I could have imagined 18 years ago as a lonely American student in Ukraine.

It’s also harder than I thought it would be.

Beautiful. Hard. Messy. Dream.

Those words all fit together in this puzzle of life. They’re tangled up, each piece getting its turn to take the spotlight.

In just one short month, my second book hits shelves.


Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom releases on September 27. This is a book written for moms who are walking the line between motherhood and art. It’s a book for moms who had dreams long before they had children, and they want to know if it’s possible to blend the two parts of themselves.

[Tweet “Life Creative celebrates moms fitting their inspired lives into the ordinary places of motherhood.”]

Would you like to read an early release copy of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom? The launch team is forming, and a PDF copy of the book is available for download for a limited time.

Click here to sign up for the launch team. You’ll be sent instructions on how to download the book, as well as how to join a private Facebook group for launch team members.


Creative moms are coming together and linking arms, all of us agreeing that this life creative is equal parts grand and exhausting. We’d love to have you join us as we bring this encouraging message to all the moms who remember dreaming on a hillside so many years ago.

Join the Life Creative Launch Team today!

Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Guide for the Last Minute Buyer



My husband and I are both notoriously last minute. Planning ahead is overrated anyway, right? At least it is until you realize that you’ve forgotten to get a gift for a loved one…again.

We may or may not have downloaded gift certificates for people we love ON CHRISTMAS MORNING because we waited juuuuust a scootch too long.

So in an effort to help out anyone who may suffer from the same sickness as me, I’ve put together a last minute gift guide, because we procrastinators need to stick together!!!

I tried to put together a good list of items that you could either get within two days (thank you, Amazon Prime), or that you could print off a lovely picture of and put in a card with a COMING SOON note. So, without further ado, I give you…

The Last Minute Gift Guide for the Last Minute Buyer



*Journaling Bible: Scripting is the hot new thing, and these journaling Bibles make Bible study both fun and inspiring. Combining coloring, creativity, and worship, a journaling Bible allows mom to find rest in the Lord, and to meditate on His Word like never before.

There are a lot of journaling Bibles out there, but this one in particular is lovely, and it’s something that mom will treasure forever, and will someday be able to pass on to her children.


Image Credit: Beth Cupitt Studio

Hymn Art: I can’t even describe how much I love this piece of art. I puffy heart love it with little squiggles all around the sides. This is a gift I might have to buy for myself…unless my husband happens to be reading this and wants to interceded on my behalf.


All of Beth Cupitt’s prints are gorgeous, and every single one of them gives me goosebumps of joy. This is a gift you most likely won’t receive in time for Mother’s Day, but you could print the photo out and put it in a card and give mom the gift of looking forward to its arrival.


icon I dusted off my Fitbit recently and put it around my wrist, then promptly took it off with a sigh. Is it too much to ask that we create a fitness tracker that looks pretty on a girl’s arm?

Well, apparently it wasn’t too much to ask the innovators at Bellabeat, because they have created just the thing. I LOVE this product, and am excited to start using it. (Disclaimer: I was offered a LEAF in exchange for writing a product review).

The LEAF is pretty
It’s functional, and it does everything that a Fitbit does, plus some! This is the perfect gift for the mom on the go who’s striving to make healthy every day choices. And bonus, you just may be able to get it in time for Mother’s Day if you order using their two-day shipping option.

Mother’s Day Promo Code: 20% off your order using MOM16


GraceLaced: All of Ruth’s prints are gorgeous. She captures the beauty of the world in the gentle strokes of her paintbrushes, and we all get to enjoy the fruits of her labor!

This print is the perfect gift to frame for mom, but it’s not the only beauty she offers! Visit the GraceLaced Shoppe today for more choices.


Illustrated Faith: This is a quick and easy gift for the journaling/scripting mom! Just pay a minimal fee to download the pdf and voila! You have the perfect pretty gift that you can stick inside a card.

Give mom the gift of creativity this year!


*Looking for Lovely: As if the title of this book alone wasn’t enough to make mom smile, the cover is sure to help. Who isn’t looking for lovely in life, especially the frazzled mom who feels bogged down by all the stuff?


*Longbourn: Jane Eyre meets Downton Abbey?

All the moms say YES, PLEASE!

This is a gift for the mom who loves to bury her nose in a good book, who swooned every Sunday night over the Crawley family, and who secretly wishes she could be Jane Austen.


Painted Tin Cans for Mom: Looking to employ the kids and offer mom a sweet, homemade gift for Mother’s Day? This quick and easy tutorial from House by Hoff is the perfect solution!

Moms love homemade gifts, especially when the kids delight in preparing them for you. This one requires minimal artistic ability, and it’s something mom can look at every day and remember the sweet blessings she’s been gifted in life.

So hop to it, all my procrastinating friends! Make this Mother’s Day a day she won’t forget as you celebrate the mom in your life. Take it from this mom – we appreciate being thought of in the big ways and the little.

Happy Mother’s Day!

*affiliate link

Because Creativity Wasn’t Meant to Be Lived Alone


We met for coffee on a balmy day. It was one of those Tampa days that makes you feel like maybe God loves Florida just a little more than any other place: 77 degrees, light breeze, salty air, and a few seagulls for effect – it was simply a lovely afternoon.

She drank her Americano, and I sipped my Chai Tea Latte, and we talked together about creativity.

I’m a writer; words are my escape from the world around me. Strung together, these words fill the canvas of my mind. They are my art, and I see the colors in each well thought out sentence.

She’s a baker. Her canvas is shortbread, and on it she paints with icing, creating images that are truly works of art, and that taste as good as they look.

We’re both moms, each of us trying to fit our art into our daily lives, and to figure out how to use these gifts of ours to the benefit of others.

“See,” she said to me, her eyes hidden behind dark glasses so that I could see the reflection of the palm trees behind me, “I didn’t always see what I do as being that useful.”

“How do you mean?” I asked.

“Well, I see what you do, how your words impact others, and it seems so valuable. But when I looked at what I was doing it all felt so…froofy.”

I smiled, because the word ‘froofy‘ is funny, and it should be employed more in the English language.

“I make cookies. Like, that’s all I’m doing. I see the value in great writing and music and art, but in a plate full of cookies? It just felt so silly.”

I nodded, and I blinked back a couple of tears, because there we sat, two creative moms, both of us trying to figure out how these things we loved fit into the grand canvas of this world.

We’re both so uniquely different, and yet we’re strikingly similar. And maybe you find yourself sidling up to the proverbial table with us.



There’s a unique Renaissance happening right now. Open up any online device, and you might notice it. Art and creativity are oozing through the internet’s pores, begging us all to see the world in different ways.

With the explosion of sites like Pinterest and Instagram, artists around the world have found a platform to showcase their God-given abilities.

And many of those artists are moms, showcasing their art from inside their homes.

They’re posting gorgeous pictures of their children, of their beautifully decorated homes. They make us drool over their spectacular cakes, and ponder life as we read their poetic words. We’re breathless at the photography, the paintings, the songs, and the beauty of it all.

My friend Wendy and I have watched this Renaissance explosion, and we’ve been entirely enamored by it. We started discussing ways that we could affirm these creative moms two years ago. Because while we see all the various forms of art displayed on our computer screens, we also know that it isn’t easy.

It’s hard to walk that line between art and motherhood. It’s hard to balance the need to create with the need to keep a house running smoothly. We see the beauty behind the photos where mom finds herself desperate for a few moments to dive into those parts of her soul that cry out for pretty things, and yet her time is limited.

So we wrote a book about it!

Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom hits bookshelves September 27, and in it we dive deeper into this God-design of artistry and motherhood, and how the two melded together can look so messy and beautiful all at once.


As we prepare to launch this book into the world, we want to develop a community of women who celebrate one another. We want this to be a place where the cookie bakers and the photographers, the writers and home decorators, the jam makers, handmade shop owners, and artists of the world come together and rejoice in the beauty of art and motherhood all mashed up together.

This is a place for anyone who’s ever felt that maybe her gift was just a little too…froofy. This is for all moms, no matter what season of motherhood you’re in.

Wendy and I, along with our friend Alle McClosky, have launched an Instagram community specifically for those of you who are trying to fit the creativity into your life. It’s a place to be inspired, to build one another up, to share each other’s art, and to remember that God had a unique purpose in mind when He created you creative.

Will you join us there today?

If you long to know more about this developing community, and to see your part in this online Renaissance, then sign up in the little green box to the right to receive these posts directly in your email inbox. I’d love to walk this Renaissance path together! 

One Thing Every Day

I get a lot of comments these days saying something to the effect of, “I don’t know how you keep up with all the things you’re doing. You must be superwoman!”

While I do appreciate this sentiment, the truth is I am not superwoman. Actually, I’m not super-anything. I don’t have any super powers, unless you count my ability to sense when the toddler is up to no good, and I could never pull off a skin tight super hero outfit.

I am ordinary…and that’s okay.

Most of us are ordinary. Perhaps even all of us are ordinary (unless you happen to be the actual superwoman reading this, in which case I’m willing to concede that you are more than ordinary).

We’re all doing the best we can inside each of our unique circumstances.

I used to think that in order to be successful, one had to be constantly in motion. But the more I push my way through this ordinary life of mine, the more I realize that success comes in the quiet moments – those quiet pockets of time when the frenzy dies down.

A few years ago, I attended a conference that was designed specifically for moms. On the second day, a woman stood in front of us, and she acknowledged the obvious: Moms don’t have a lot of time.


“What do you do,” she asked, “when you want to build your business, but the children are clamoring at your feet, and the moments in your day are parsed out?”

I leaned forward, ready to accept her answer to this question that often left me befuddled.

“You do one thing every day,” she said. The room was silent as a hundred moms with dreams soaked in this freeing nugget of wisdom.

“You can’t do all the things when you’re a mom, but you can do one thing. So do one thing every day that helps grow your business, develops your ideas, makes you money – whatever it is you’re working toward, keep pressing on, one step at a time.”

Yesterday was one of those days that seemed to spiral out of control. Between homeschool and toddlerhood, and all the life that crept into the cracks of my day, I found myself antsy and frustrated.

There simply wasn’t any time yesterday for me to sit and work.

By 8:00, I felt panic beginning to well up in my chest. I just wanted the kids to go to bed so the house would grow quiet, and I could find a moment to complete a thought.

It was 9:30 before I found that moment, and by then I was so exhausted the thoughts were tangled together, and I just wanted to go to bed myself, but I knew that if I could do just one thing I’d sleep a little more soundly.

As a writer, I’m finding this process of marketing books in the new media age to be rather intimidating. I’m not good with video or images – I’m a word girl. Facebook is my happy place because WORDS, all the WORDS!

Instagram bores me, and Pinterest intimidates me, and don’t even get me started on Periscope. But I need to step outside of this little comfortable box of mine, and I need to learn how to better utilize these online tools. So before bed, I went to Pinterest and poked around a bit.

I added a few photos to some character boards I’m developing for my book launch, and I looked at what other authors are doing on that platform.

This didn’t take a lot of time, and it didn’t require me to formulate any ideas. This was my one thing and it was all I had, but you know what?

I slept like a rock last night.

Doing one thing every day frees us up to enjoy the bigger picture. This season of my mothering life doesn’t offer loads of free time. I’ve got slivers of time in each day, and so I have to utilize those slivers to the best of my ability.

I slept so well last night because I went to bed knowing I’d done one thing. I didn’t toss and turn all night, chasing down ideas or fighting bitterness at all the stolen hours of my day. I felt a peace knowing I’d done something – one something – to get better at my job.

There will be other days when I can conquer my to-do list; days when the house is quiet and I can do a slew of book-related things. But those days are not the norm.

So I’ll keep doing one thing every day, then focus my attention on the children clamoring at my feet. And in this way, I manage to  survive this ordinary, maybe even slightly extraordinary, life.


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