Falling into a creative slump can feel a bit disheartening. It happens often with many people around the world and those close to us, yet can still feel like an isolating experience. Getting stuck might feel daunting, overwhelming and stressful, but please know that it’s possible to get unstuck. Your creativity might not be present at the moment, but it sure isn’t lost. It’s there lingering in the background, possibly buried under a few layers, and it will come back to you.
I’ve recently felt my creativity slip away from me in the past several months and I wanted to share the things that have helped me get to the point of writing this blog today. I've been craving that feeling of "the state of flow." That feeling of being fully immersed in your activity - that "in the zone" sort of feeling. It's an energizing experience and in this mental state you really zone in on what your doing. Time seems to stop and hours pass with you fully engaged in what you're doing. It's slowly coming back for me, and I wanted to share how. Here are some ways to reignite your creativity spark again. I hope it helps you.
Set Aside Time for Imagination
Limit the distractions, chuck away the phone and laptop and take some time to simply daydream and imagine. You can do this lying on the couch, going for a walk in nature, listening to music or whatever feels natural to you. Let the ideas that come up in your mind be explored and observe it through a curious lens. You can take this a step further by writing down the things you’re thinking of and imagining, however weird or nonsensical it may sound. It’s a fun way to extract what’s going on in your mind and putting it on paper to see it in a more concrete, visual way. You may even take time to analyze this and connect some dots or thoughts. Try to enjoy this process and try to not overthink it. The overthinking might lead to those pressures and other thoughts will begin to cloud the task at hand. Be easy with yourself on this!
Another aspect of this is to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness can be practiced with the breath, simply noticing the breath coming in and out of your body and shifting focus toward this. It could be practiced on a mindfulness walk, noticing the colours, shapes, sounds and scents around you. A good frame of reference is noticing the 5 senses (touch, taste, smell, sight and sound). Try this out and see how it works for you.
Create Time for Creativity
Another important thing here is to actually set the time aside. Create the time you seek. We always say how we don’t have time, but it might be worth doing a realistic check in to see where your time is actually going. Now I know for me, I can end up mindlessly scrolling on my phone for who knows how long, so I try to set a reminder on my phone to limit the amount of time spent on social media (some days I ignore it 7x ... but I’m trying). Another idea is to map out your day when you wake up to plan where you have time for yourself to practice creativity (or maybe you plan out your calendar weekly, do what works for you). Block out this time and really try to commit to it. I know that it can be tempting to say yes to other events that may come up or to distract yourself with TV or whatever else, but really ask yourself in those moments what it is you need. Be flexible and prioritize your needs, but also try to commit to this in a way that will be motivating, encouraging and gentle with you.
Try Another Creative Activity
Are you a writer? Maybe try some doodling, painting or creating something else. It might be worth trying a different creative activity so as not to place pressure on the current creative venture you’re trying to get started on again. This is also a way to try and have fun with the creative process again so that it mitigates the pressures and stressors you place on yourself. This might also help clear up some space in your mind while in the state of flow and could help you see some patterns and ideas for the thing you’re stuck with at the moment. It’s like taking a new road on the map to get to where you want to be instead of that same old route you’ve been traveling along. Switch it up and see what happens!
Change Up Your Environment
Experience new surroundings and set your eyes on new sights. Have you been sitting at the same desk in your house since quarantine began that’s now associated with boring Zoom meetings (“you’re on mute!”) and endless piles of work? If this same place is where you come for rest, retreat and creativity, it might actually be contributing to your restless thoughts or clouded mind that’s pushing aside your imagination. Get up and change it up. Maybe try to go outside, sit on some grass, go by the water if you’re near some, a coffee shop, or even try to go to another room (if this is possible in your living arrangements). I used to live in a bachelor apartment that really didn’t leave much for a change in scenery, so I often went to walk in some nature, sat on a bench and wrote out some ideas I had so that I at least had a plan for what to write when I got back home. So try to change it up and see what a new place might give you in your imagination and creative mind.
Try Something You’ve Done Before
I often ask my clients questions to remind them of their past and what they’ve previously done to get through a similar situation. It’s amazing how a bit of prompting can really show you how you know deep down what can be done because something like this has most likely happened before. So really try to ask yourself - have you lost touch with creativity before? What happened? What did it feel like? What did you do to get through it? How did it feel after when you were on the other side? Show yourself the answer and try to push through the creative block. The discomfort that arises when feeling stuck is normal, and I encourage you to feel it and experience from a place of no judgment. Try to combat it with compassion and kindness. Being kind to yourself here is key as it will help you move through the motions and feelings you’re experiencing.
Who do you admire or look up to in your creative field? It might be a good idea to immerse yourself in other people’s creativity. Getting inspiration from others is another great motivator to feeling unstuck in your creative block. New ideas might spark, or you might remember what it felt like for you to be in that creative mindset, thus encouraging you to do the thing you love. Maybe it’s going to an art gallery, reading a novel, talking to someone in the field or maybe listening to some talks online or in person. Hey, maybe it’s even inspiring yourself? Go through your past work you've created. This can help break down the current block you’re experiencing. What inspires you, who inspires you and how can you get inspired?
Take Care of Yourself
Practice self-care, talk to your loved ones, speak to a coach or therapist to work through it, fuel your body with good food and water, and exercise and move your body in a healthy way. Standard things I thought I’d include that we sometimes forget :)
I hope these tips help you push through a creative block you might be experiencing or feeling stuck with a current task. If you want to talk about it, I’m here for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out and fill out a contact form below to get started with a free consultation. You’re not alone in this! Wishing you a fun creative day.