How to Stay Sharp and Inspired


Episode 003 of The Creative Well Podcast

© Katie O. Selvidge, LLC | How to stay sharp and inspired in seasons of change | .png

I'm answering two great questions in today's call-in episode!

Jessica Zimmerman of Zimmerman Events is back with a great question on how to get inspired about your business during time off, and Laura Kashner of Whitespace Magazine asks how to stay 'sharp' (love that she used that word) while on maternity leave. I'm so excited to roll up my sleeves and walk through how I stay inspired daily, weekly, quarterly and some specific pointers for both of these ladies. This is a good one, folks!

Let’s get started with Episode 003 of The Creative Well podcast!

© Katie O. Selvidge, LLC | Learn more on The Creative Well Podcast |

Q: How do you get inspired in your business during time off?

A: I have habitual practices that keep me inspired all the time, but during a time off, I would suggest approaching it like a sabbatical — a real sabbatical.

What is a Sabbatical

It is not...

  • A vacation or
  • Putting up an away message so you can work on the next thing

It is...

  • Taking time away from your usual work 
  • To study something new or parallel to your work to, therefore, improve your work
  • And it may involve travel, that could look like a vacation, 
  • And you may have a pause or away message on your business,
  • But the sole purpose is to separate yourself from your regular routine/life and immerse yourself in something new to grow within your craft.

Let me say it again:

A sabbatical is not a vacation or putting up an away message to work on your next launch.

My Daily Habits for Creative & Business Inspiration

  • Morning Pages
    • From Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, write 3 pages of a stream of consciousness the first thing when you wake up.
  • Meditation
    • If I'm stuck, I do a walking meditation. If I'm overwhelmed, I do a stillness meditation.
  • Audiobooks/Podcast
    • Listen to business education your peers ARE NOT listening too. Look outside, but parallel to your industry for inspiration. 

My Weekly Habits for Creative & Business Inspiration

  • Work out, HARD
    • Not only for the physical benefits but working out hard a few times a week has been scientifically proven to improve critical thinking and cognition. 
    • 'Forgetting' about your problems helps you solve your problems. It has to do with your brainwaves and subconscious. Trust me, it's science. ;)
  • ***Check in with Your Community
    • I forgot to mention this in the episode, but connecting with your community—finding an honest community which does NOT HAVE TO be within the creative world—will open you to new perspectives, ideas and ways of solving problems you may not have thought of.

Monthly, I will go on a Personal Field Trip.

Another idea from The Artist's Way, a personal field trip is when you go experience something new, outside of your comfort zone, but enjoyable...alone.

A personal field trip immerses you into a different mindset, gives you a new perspective and helps you hone your creative opinion.

Some specific pointers for Jessica's 'Sabbatical'

  • Pick an industry, an idol or idea that is outside of your industry, but parallel to your work and study it HARD.
    • Jessica works with flowers, so I recommended architecture, color theory/psychology or agriculture.
  • Travel, but travel to IMMERSE yourself in the culture.
  • Laugh. You cannot create if you are holding on to any grudges—towards yourself or others. Do something that makes you laugh, not take yourself too seriously.

The creative community loves to talk about vulnerability. But to me, losing yourself in a sorting fit of laughter shows more vulnerability and courage than a moody quote. Let go a bit and you'll realize how fearless you really can be.

Q: How do you stay sharp during changes like maternity leave?

A: I give myself permission to do things that will make me stay sharp, even if other people disagree or judge my choices.

The best advice on motherhood I ever received was from my mother-in-law. She said, “You are the mama. And mama decides how it's going to go—no one else.”

...And all the mama's said amen!

Bottom line, you've got to do what will make you feel well, be well for your business, baby, family and self.

More awesome motherly advice from my own mother who is a flight attendant for Southwest: “You have to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others. When you feel overwhelmed, burned out, crazy, ask yourself if you've been giving yourself enough oxygen.”

Each mama is different and will do things a different way. With that disclaimer out of the way, here is how I did things that I give you permission to do, if it works well for you.

I give you permission to...

  • Work while you're on maternity leave.
    • Even just an hour a day to clean up your website, plan out social media, do some extra journaling or reading.
    • Do put a time limit and boundaries like no emails or deadlines though. This is a special time you don't want to miss.
  • Create a 'fake' social media account to protect your mental health.
    • I made a private/secret Instagram account o follow random things I like such as woo-woo authors, comic book critics and other random curiosities outside of my friends and industry.
    • Why? Because at 2:00 am with no sleep and who knows when was my last shower, my mind is vulnerable, and I don't want to compare that vulnerable moment with someone I love or admire and fall into the comparison trap. With sleep deprivation, overwhelm and unpredictable hormones, I want to prevent unhealthy thoughts. Keep it light and make a silly private account if you want to scroll.
      • Get your phone scroll-ready.
    • With the same idea, have books, articles or movies/films ready in advance that will make you laugh, lift you up or inspire you during the downtime. Prevent the mindless scroll by planning ahead.
    • Bonus points if you find something outside, but parallel to your industry to learn about and help you 'stay sharp' during this time off.


Katie SelvidgeComment