6 Secrets for Getting Out of a Rut (That These Badass, Creative Women Know)

published Jun 15, 2017
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(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Colorful art and patterned textiles aren’t the only things I find myself envying while looking through the house tours we share. When I read about women kicking ass in creative careers and living in stylish, authentic homes, I want to know what they know. About design…and about navigating artistic lives. Seeing that these women have both careers and homes bursting with creativity, I want to know their secrets to getting out of a creative rut. I want to hear about how they spark their imagination when they’re low on inspiration. Below, six ways they get “unstuck.”

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Her home in Los Angeles rocks a 1950s aesthetic and is filled with colors, textiles and light. Her debut novel, MIRROR IN THE SKY, was entirely written in her dining room, and her upcoming novel, LIBRARY OF FATES, will be released July 2017.

It’s a good idea to have as many irons in the fire as possible, and I’m often juggling three or four projects at once. I believe creativity is always the answer and that means delving headfirst into change and flow and uncertainty and the Unknown. I’ve talked a bit about this idea here. Fear is a good thing. Failure can also be great in that it can level your dreams, making way for bigger ones. It took me a while to learn this, but I wholly believe that everything — whether it’s loss or heartbreak or disappointment or “stuckness” — is something that’s happening for you, not to you. Thinking about it this way gives me agency and the confidence to move past feeling stuck.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Along with her husband Jayden, Caroline runs Woodnote Photography and Coco Carpets, two companies that combine a love for travel with an eye for all things beautiful. Their Los Angeles rental is full of color and pattern.

I love to stimulate new brain waves in any way that I can…if I have only a short amount of time, seeing a movie or going to an exercise class will support me in a shift, but if it is more of a “rutty season,” then a jaunt out of town really gets me inspired.

This year, I’m working through the book Artist’s Way, and the author challenges you to take your inner muse on a weekly creative date. I’ve been intentionally creating an hour a week to drive around a neighborhood in LA that I’ve never been to before, and stop to take photos whenever I want to during that hour. It’s amazing how much excitement I’ve gotten just from seeing new homes and snagging new Insta content at the same time!”

(Image credit: Samara Vise)

She was the first woman in state history to be nominated by a major party for governor of New Hampshire and is currently the host of the radio show The Attitude. She lives in a bold attic apartment of a grand Victorian she inherited from her aunt.

Find someone who is really struggling and help them…puts your “rut” into perspective. After my husband died I volunteered at a homeless shelter (no one to come home to)…changed my life.

(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

She’s the owner of Material Life, a Lower Ninth Ward shop where she sells items that reflect black cultural identities. But she’s also a photography historian, writer and editor with a passion for art and her black roots. Her colorful Seventh Ward home in New Orleans is bursting with history.

I allow myself to wallow in doubt and self-pity for one day — 24 hours — then I call my sister whose no-nonsensical approach ALWAYS snaps me out of it and puts me right back to work. We come from a very matriarchal family, formidable women, so her voice always allows me to draw on that collective strength.

(Image credit: Marisa Vitale)

Paco runs a consulting firm called The Hell Yeah Group, where she help creatives understand finances. She’s also been building a non-profit called Allies in Arts, with a friend. She’s also played in bands since age 17. She shares an art-filled Los Angeles home with her wife Jenn.

A change of environment or scenery always does the trick. We live in a bubble in LA and it can get tiresome dealing with the stress of city life. It wears on you and that impacts your well being, your creativity, your productivity, your output, your mental health. If we can’t leave town, getting together with our friends always helps us shake whatever is blocking our creativity. Making sure we’re open creatively is vital to our survival, not in a pretentious manner, but because we work for ourselves. Our creativity puts food on the table and a roof over our head.

(Image credit: Melanie Rieders)

Judy is a textile designer known for her designs inspired by nature on pillows, throws, rugs and other soft goods for the home. She lives in a beautifully designed loft in the Union Square area in Manhattan, which she shares with her two teenage sons.

When I am feeling stuck, my cure is to go to art galleries or museums to see some shows. I think looking at art can be uplifting, and you can gain ideas and wisdom through the art of others. All the New York City museums are wonderful! Also visiting Chelsea and just walking all the streets and visiting the galleries is a great way to see what is happening in the art world and get a new outlook on life.