No one is creative, inspired, and motivated 100 percent of the time.

Creativity comes in waves. These waves are formed by peaks with great amounts of energy and inspiration and are balanced by valleys full of slowness and introspection.

The flow of these waves is different for each person. Some people have uniform waves and some do not. Some have valleys longer than peaks or vice versa.

The shape of your waves do not matter. What matters is how you “surf” your wave. We must respect each of the peaks and valleys in our creative cycle.

While we are at a peak of creativity, we should use a lot of organizational tools and productivity tips to make the most of our energy and our inspiration. We must create until we can no more. It is at the peak of our creativity that we are more likely to create our best work without much effort. Our creativity is simply under our skin, ready to emerge.

And when that peak goes away, and believe me, it will, we have to slow down and respect our quiet. We should not force ourselves to be productive and create our best. It won’t work. There are thousands of things we can do in our quiet time that will help our creativity, but  without the pressure to create something new or incredible.

It’s wise to enjoy our valleys, the moments of silent inspiration. Take a notebook and start writing down everything you most love to do to relax. Below are some things that work well for me and that may help you start your list.

  • Running, dancing, swimming and going to the gym help you breathe (oxygenate the brain) and sweat (remove toxins).
  • When your body is tired but your mind does not want to stop or when you need a process your feelings, try journaling.
  • Make a collage or inspiration board, letting your subconscious guide you.
  • Clean cabinets, drawers and folders. It’s kind of like therapy! Time passes by and you empty your mind (and the house!). Take away whatever no longer serves a purpose. This will mirror the feeling of renewal in your creative process.
  • Yoga and pilates are great for photographers. These activities aid in the union of body and mind through breathing.
  • Take a nap. As you become more aware of your creative cycle, you will know when your body is really asking you to stop and rest.
  • In the cold months, light the fireplace, prepare your favorite hot drink and curl up in a cozy blanket.
  • In the heat of summer, prepare lemonade or iced tea, go outside and wet your feet in the pool, swim a little, or walk barefoot in the grass.
  • Watch a series or movie. Nothing works better to empty the mind for a few hours.
  • Take a relaxing bath. This is for the mind but it relaxes the body as well.
  • Read a book. Immersing yourself in fantasy universes will help unlock our creative processes. The emotions we feel when reading a story help us with our own art.
  • Develop a hobby or manual skill outside of photography. The more we develop our artistic skills, the more we can add to our work as photographers, even if only intuitively.
  • Study various subjects outside of your normal. In addition to calming the mind, it helps you to have subjects to talk to other people and gets you out of your routine.
  • Meditate. This is without a doubt, for me, the greatest tool. It helps us understand our process and to respect our need for stillness, and teaches us how to channel our energy.

Use these tips for inspiration, and always remember to be kind to yourself. Even in creative peaks, take brief moments to take care for yourself. Be careful not to pack your schedule or spend too much time being indulgent.

Always remember that creativity comes in waves, including peaks of energy and valleys of quietness. Learning how to respect these waves will help you enjoy the beautiful ride.