How To Get Out of a Creative Slump
Sometimes I get into a slump. I don’t feel like writing, drawing or painting. I don’t want to do anything that would be beneficial to me or my career. It doesn't feel good. It happens to everyone and I think it’s a natural side effect of a creative mind. For me its been brought on by some health complications that left me feeling like I didn’t want to get on with anything and in turn left me feeling a bit out of the loop.
But I wanted to share some things I’ve done that have helped me feel back on track and raring to go.
Took some time out. Creativity and motivation can be effected by outside factors and it’s important you nurture them by nurturing those primal needs too. Do you need food? Do you need sleep? Do you need energy? I found it really useful to properly consider what a ‘relaxation’ activity does for me and how it’s beneficial to how I’m feeling. Do I need to think about something else entirely for a bit, do I need some time to sit with a concept and come up with ideas, do I need to let out some energy.
For me a bath is very good for coming up with positive ideas and plans, and a film is very good to get me completely off topic for an hour or so. I watched Sweeney Todd – I felt like a grim musical in the middle of summer, and Okja – I felt like being heartbroken and considering never eating meat again apparently.
Cleaned. Cleaning is a great starter for me. Thursdays before my solo Friday freelance day I always tidy my desk where I work as it’s usually got bits of make up, letters, underwear, books that I’ve piled up there during the week. And I love waking up and getting ready with my workspace ready to go.
Tidying things away also makes you feel productive before you actually start working. My friend told me that people who make their bed in the morning have better productivity rates because they experience a sense of achievement early in the day. I generally abide by this – so long as I don’t have only 3 minutes to get out the door – and I can see how it works.
Changed my space. For a while I found working on my computer downstairs in the dining room and keeping my desk solely for artwork helpful. Until I was never in my room because I was slumpy and browsing the internet. Then didn’t want to create any work because I was never in the space to facilitate that. Both spaces became a bit useless. I moved everything into the place I feel the most creative and comfortable. I know now that specific projects – a newsletter or blog post – can be written in a new setting. I’ll go to a coffee shop to do that but having a split work space ultimately didn’t work out.
Asked myself what I actually wanted to do. I conduct my time by blocking out what I'm doing work wise usually the day before. I will plan to do something in the morning, then walk the dog and eat lunch, then do something else until a particular time and then finish off with another task- for example. Aside from keeping the new guy on a similar routine (no more pee in the house than necessary, I’ve already trodden in it once) I found it much better to meet the needs I was currently having. Instead of trying to routine my way out of feeling rough, I was asking myself what I actually wanted to do right then. Some of the time there was honestly no answer because I was slumping so hard but it did serve well to consider what my instinct was telling me, to listen to that little perk up when I wondered over something that didn’t sound too bad.
Started a new no-ties project. I eventually started working on the only idea that sparked excitement during my slump. This thing has no real financial benefits, it’s not exactly going to be something that will advance my career in any way. But I let go of the stress of everything having to be business viable to explore that little spark. I found that working on something was helping me get back to business mode. I was almost doing a school project where I was make believing I was putting together a new business idea. And it worked! I will always say work is the best way to work. Starting on something small will be the best way to start something big. I do forget this from time to time.
Sometimes it takes a film or a bath or a change or asking yourself some questions before you can even think about it. But I do think creativity and motivation comes in ebbs and flows. I found my way out of it and you will too.