Creative Fuel and Pushing Empty


Creative fuel is just like the fuel you use in a car. No gas, the car is staying put and you are probably going to be pretty grumpy. No creative fuel, it’s going to be challenging to keep rolling, crafting, writing, brainstorming, working or creating at all, and you will most likely feel grumpy, or unable to connect to your creative flow.


The body can also start to feel anxious and frazzled, which gets the mind to kick in and start painting a fearful picture of “stuckness” or a creative block. When you have the mind and body both low on fuel, it can be hard to get moving again. So to shift the low energy vibes, it helps to understand what components of your creative fuel may be depleted or gone altogether.

Forms of Creative Fuel


Creative fuel can be anything that gives you energy, clarity and focus. It keeps you feeling stable and grounded, and helps you to tap directly into your inner flow quickly and easily.


These are my Top Ten Forms of Creative Fuel, and I consider them essential for supporting the creative flame in your hobbies, work and personal development.

  • Healthy, supportive food
  • Sleep
  • Rest
  • Inspiration
  • Joy
  • Release
  • Learning
  • Community and connection
  • Change
  • Self-love


These components aren’t all at equal full-strength all the time. They wax and wane as you deal with life. Sometimes certain types of creative fuel will show up more often than others to pick up the slack, which is perfectly natural. Yet there needs to be some give and take. Resources are not infinite; you need to take the time to put some gas back in the tank to get the most out of your creativity and quality of life.


adrenaline rush, creative fuel, flow

False Creative Fuel: Caught in the Adrenaline Rush of Beginnings


It’s easy to give into the adrenaline rush of new beginnings and turn to them as creative fuel. Ideas are forming, shaping and coming in like gangbusters. The process feels fun and light because creativity is actually fueling itself. It can seem euphoric and fulfilling, all at the same time. However, you then need to decide how to tie ideas together, connect the resources and move forward. People might be making things complicated, or resources are taking a while to come together.


While this may seem like a setback, you are actually being given two really amazing opportunities to replenish some key ingredients of creative fuel:

  • A chance to take a step back – (rest)
  • The space to review something with fresh eyes – (change) in perspective


If you notice that you have a lot of projects you’ve started but they seem to go no where, why not look at how you feed your inner creative self? Liking the beginning of an idea or project then stalling out is not uncommon, but it can wear on your attitude and self-esteem when things aren’t shaping up into something tangible or meeting your expectations.


sun, flowers, creative fuel

Sorting Out Your Version of Creative Fuel


Once you’ve had a chance to disconnect and relax, ask yourself what part of the creative process you enjoy most, and what part inspires you most. If building and brainstorming feels good, why not find more ways to do it that funnel towards your creativity? Then find other people or tools to simplify the “doing” parts so they don’t bog you down entirely.


Or, perhaps you enjoy the more physical act of creativity like reaching out, connecting with new people and exploring new countries and cultures to help expand your perspective.


I love looking at photos to get my creativity re-inspired. Photos offer a cool “visual vacation” that ignites something deep within me, or gives me a quick giggle or pick me up. This is one example of a personal creative fuel source that does the trick fast, but I also regularly check in with my Top Ten Forms of Creative Fuel to create the balance I know is essential for me.


Not sure what works for you yet? Keep taking the time to tune in and kick up your self-awareness efforts in all your activities for a week or so. What fires up your creative juices? What slows them down or dries them up? When do you feel happiest and carefree, what seems to drag you down? Knowing where you flow and what causes a “roadblock” are equally important pieces of information to play with, helping you tune into your creative flow regularly.


What works for you? What is your creative fuel secret?


Photo Credit: JenR, Jenna Purcella, Digimist