In times of “bleh,” such as mid-March when Mother Nature can’t quite decide if it should be winter or spring, it’s hard to stay inspired. Creative thinking gets put on the back-burner as we focus on getting through winter.

I believe that we are all creative beings, in our own way. Our methods of expression vary (I mean, you can be creative with how you brush your teeth), but there’s something satisfying about looking at what we’ve made, and thinking, Hey, check out what I just did!

Personally, I channel my creative impulses with writing. Although, last spring I rediscovered Microsoft Paint and it was like the first time I had ice-cream (minus the heartbreak of being a slow eater). During stretches of time when I don’t access my creativity, life becomes gray and shapeless. It’s like the blobs from Zoloft commercials. My theory is that I’m not alone in this feeling. With each passing uncreative day, the lurking doom of losing life’s colors and shapes becomes inevitable. Unless, of course, you have a counter-attack- an activity that helps keep you going.

MS Paint: An often under-appreciated medium for self-expression.

MS Paint: An often under-appreciated medium for self-expression.

For me, that counter-attack is running. Yes, there are all kinds of studies about how running releases feel-good chemicals, but on a more personal level, it just helps me think.

When I run, the ties that bind (be they self-doubt, fear, pride) come undone. Freed from the burden of expectation, nothing is good or bad, but MAN, am I happy. And suddenly, it no longer seems like I’m trying to reinvent the wheel. Ideas start to flow organically. By the time I get back home, creative energy is practically shooting out of my fingertips.

Running may not fuel your creative fire, but something out there does. Maybe you need to move or remain still or stand on your head, talk it out or reflect in silence. Take some time to discover what inspires you, what moves you artistically. And, whether you’re painting a masterpiece, making macaroni art, breakdancing, or singing “Let Her Go” by Passenger in an opera voice on a long drive home, get out there and create.