Sometimes when I’m working on a creative project or trying to create something new, my brain can feel like it is full of nothing but this:
… … …
And it’s the most frustrating thing ever.
When I first began really focusing on my passion for creating things, these little spells would scare me to death. Little silly doubts would creep into my mind, and I would instantly begin to question my “creativeness”. Luckily, as I have spent more time reading about and listening to other people’s creative journeys, I’ve come to realize that going through creative ruts is completely normal. And in all honesty, its actually not a bad thing to face. Sometimes feeling a little burnt out or uninspired is just what we need to reset and refocus ourselves on what we love. Below are a few key thoughts I always try to remember when my creative gears feel a tad bit stuck.
1. Take a break
I know, I know. Taking a step back from creating sounds like the last thing you want to do if you are trying to get out of a creative rut, but trust me. This is the first thing I try to encourage myself to do. In today’s society we are constantly inundated with content and creative works so its only natural that sometimes our brains go into overdrive. If your brain is dying for a little time to just not think about anything, you shouldn’t ignore it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to just jump back into creating head first, instead take a break and embrace what ideas come to you when you’re not looking for them.
2. Get back to the basics
Get back to the little things that inspire and fuel you. If there is a certain book or type of music that usually gets your creative flow going, immerse yourself in it. For me this usually means turning on some of the songs I loved in high school and doodling with a pencil on some college ruled notebook paper. Getting back to things that I did a lot in the beginning of my creative journey helps relax me and gives me that ever so inspiring feeling of nostalgia. Try not to get too caught up in all of the “new” and “shiny” that’s out there, ground yourself in the things that make you happy, that encourage you to use your imagination and pique your curiosity.
3. Try something new
Now, when you are feeling like you’re ready to take a step out of whatever rut you might be facing, try something new. Whether it be something totally out there or something as simple as trying a new brush for your paintings, switching things up is one of the most fun and easy ways to really get excited about what you are doing.
4. Set the mood
I find that creating the optimal work environment for myself is super helpful, especially in the moments that I hit a mental roadblock. Of course most of us work or create in places that might not necessarily suit our every productivity desire, but that doesn’t mean it should be unachievable all the time. For me, “setting the mood” serves as a bit of a “treat yourself” moment. I like to take that extra step to create a little space that truly allows for me to relax, focus on what is in front of me, and get some solid work done. So, whether lighting a candle, turning on background music, or going to a local coffee shop is your cup of tea for ultimate content creation, don’t be afraid to take the time to set the mood.
5. Make some junk
This tip pairs well with number 3. To me, one of the coolest parts of creating things is that most of the time it takes a whole lot of junk to get to the golden stuff. That said, I think sometimes we get so focused on making things that will be deemed “amazing” by others that we forget the creative process isn’t meant to be a “1 + 2= 3” kinda thing. It’s actually the complete opposite. You never know how your mess might inspire you to make something else or when it might actually become your art. So just let your fears or hesitations go and just create anything.
Hopefully you can find some of these tips to be helpful, and if you have any things you like to try when in a rut share them in the comments below!