Journal

5 Ways to Push Through a Creative Slump

The natural ebb and flow of life brings both bolts of inspiration and valleys that feel void of fresh ideas. It’s during these vulnerable, doubt-filled times that we can feel fraudulent and undeserving of the creative titles we hold. The term “Writer’s Block” has been around for as long as the human spirit has identified with creative work.

In his book, Steven Pressfield calls this “The Resistance,” and it can be defined as anything that prevents us from moving forward in a creative endeavor.

Have you ever sat down to write a blog post but the words just won’t come? Or entered into the next phase of something you are building, only to feel uninspired? Here are five boosts that will hopefully help you cross that hurdle:

1. Allow yourself 30 minutes to get into “flow.”

Begin the activity, even if you don’t feel inspired. Sometimes you must take the right actions before the feelings follow, instead of waiting for the feelings to trigger the action. After about 30 minutes, you may become so involved in what you’re doing that time begins to melt away and you forget that you were hungry or tired or simply “not feeling it.” Experts call this “a state of complete immersion in an activity. You are living in the moment, utterly absorbed in the present activity.”

2. Stuck in the wee hours? Come back in the evening.

Or vice versa. I used to treat my business like a day job by giving myself set hours. While it’s important to set hours if you have a hard time getting things done, it can sometimes hinder creativity. Perhaps ideas flow better in the late afternoon hours, or you find inspiration strikes during your early morning workout. Work with that, not against it. The human mind is so much more complex than a simple 24-hour set schedule allows. It isn’t about the sheer volume of hours you work in a day, but rather the quality and efficiency of those hours. 

3. Try a different approach.

Albert Einstein said “you can’t solve problems with the same thinking you used to get into them.” Take the foundation of your idea and build a whole new landscape. Blaze a trail down a different path. Put on a fresh pair of glasses — rose colored, if you can!

4. Move on entirely– but stay productive.

A moving mind is a creative mind. When a dress is coming together, but is missing that “wow” factor that makes me excited to call it my own, I pause. I move on. But as long as I’m moving onto something else that needs to get done, I know I’m not wasting time. I believe that creatives tend to have a short attention span, and we may need to train ourselves to stop “dividing and conquering” and instead just conquer one at a time. 

5. Rest.

Go to sleep. Spend time with your family. Grab the book that’s been sitting open on your coffee table. Don’t dwell on all the work you could be doing. Go for a walk and cherish the fact that you have the ability to create something beautiful and share it with the world. 

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