I had a nice comment posted from Adrienne the other day. She specifically mentioned: "Would love to hear your comments about how you stay motivated. What do you do when you feel stale? Or do you ever?"
I do get "stale." Tired might be more accurate. I spend a lot of time in the studio each day hard at work at my easel and managing the many other areas related to the business of being an artist. I have found several things that help if I can't get my mind in the creative spirit.
The most important approach for me personally... getting up early! Sound too simple? I started getting up at 5 am several years ago. It changed my life. Seriously, getting up early has made a huge difference. I often get more done before 8 am than I do in the next few hours of the day. The phone does not ring, the kids are asleep, and if you had at least 6 or 7 hours of sleep the night before, you are good to go.
I read as much as I can, too. Spending time with my art books, pouring over photo reproductions and reading about other artists, their work, and their lives can really get you in the mood to get back to work.
One other "secret." If getting started is the trouble... I start to work on whatever I am having difficulty with. RIGHT AWAY! I just make a mark! Once I stop thinking about why I can't do whatever it is and just try, I begin to solve problems. Slowly, but surely I become inspired! And if getting back to a piece is the trouble... I make a mark! I have often found that so much of painting is problem solving. If I will just take the plunge, I find myself hard at work to make things right.
I have more thoughts on shaking off the dust, but I will save those for another day!