“There are quite a bit of ups and downs when it comes to working creatively, and there are days we simply cannot seem to write anything that brings us the slightest bit of joy. I find that I’ve begun to ride the wave of productivity much more now that I have at any other point in my life, but there are still the days I cannot seem to produce anything substantial. When I’m experiencing a lengthy creative slump, I spend way too much of my time worrying about all of the work I’m not doing instead of actively working to make a change. It’s amazing how a simple change in perspective can really do wonders for us as creatives, and that is something I’ve been practicing routinely. I’m simply here to say that we all have days where the words don’t seem to come, but there comes a time where we’re just going to have to push through – and make them happen.”
CREATIVE SLUMPS SUCK
You’ve woken up much later than you would’ve wanted, missed a deadline, unsure of where to begin when it comes to your to-dos because you’ve already given up on the day – and you need a bit of a push. You pull your laptop out to begin working one a new piece, but your mind remains blank, and you just can’t seem to write anything. I’ve had quite a few days like this, distracted, uneasy, itching to get back to work but not knowing how. It’s easy to make sense of the writing process when you’re inspired, when the words are flowing freely, but it’s when you don’t have that surge of inspiration, it’s when you’re your own worst critic, that you really begin to realize how much effort it takes to keep creativity somewhat consistent.
SO WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
Waking up on an off day is the worst, and it takes a lot more energy to get working than I’d like – but it is doable. It’s true when they say that there’s a lot that can get done once you begin (and beginning is usually the hardest part). We’re sometimes a bit too quickly to give ourselves a pass when the day just isn’t as productive as we’d like it to be, that we forget that we can very well change that if we tried. When I’m tackling a creative slump, I first pour myself a cup of something hot and sit down with my journal, to brain dump for about 10-15 minutes about just about anything that may be clouding my mind. I take one look at my to-do list, and instead of worrying myself sick about not having enough time to get everything done, I whittle it down to something more manageable when I can, making sure that I’ve dispersed the work within the timeframe I have so I can feel a bit better as well as get to work. Then, I spend the first half of my work session (especially if I have a bit of writer’s block) replying to emails, or handling the easier to-dos before I jump into the creative work. When I don’t know where to begin, I reach for my journal again, and just start writing something. It doesn’t have to make sense, it could very well be a recollection of what you did the previous day, but when I force myself to get writing, the ideas seem to finally begin to surface. When I’m trying to write a piece that I know means quite a lot to me, and I find myself stuck, I brainstorm as much as possible. I also take the time to get out of my head as much as I possibly can during my breaks, whether that’d be a good book, a quick coffeeshop trip with a friend, or a hefty gym session, so that when I return to work – I have a clear head, a stimulated mind, ready to be productive whether I’d like it or not.
DON’T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME “PREPARING” TO WRITE
I have been guilty of this quite a lot in the past, where I’d tell myself that I was just going to take a quick half hour to settle in to read so that I’d be in the right mindset to get writing. While I find that this works, it can get a bit out of hand sometimes. Occasionally, I’d spend too much time preparing to write that I never end up writing. It may sound like a simple fix, but if you’re experiencing a creative slump, the last thing you may want to do is face it head on – but that’s exactly what you’re going to have to do to get out of it.
The faster you get to writing, the better it’ll be for you overall, because you are actively putting yourself in the situation where you’re making the effort to be productive. It’s okay if nothing substantial comes from it this time around, but you’ve at least set yourself up to get something done – and that effort will make all of the difference. I find that I hold off on writing a lot and tell myself that I will get to it later that evening, when I simply have too much going on in my mind, or that I feel a bit too overwhelmed that day. I’ve been trying my best to utilize my writing time as a time to let all of my inhibitions go, so that I can just enjoy writing the way I do when I’m having a good, productive day.
GET UP AND GET WRITING
I woke up this morning in a creative slump, unsure of whether I was going to get a third blog post up this week, unsure if I was going to get another chapter of my novel edited, or if I was going to do that writing prompt I’ve had my eye on. Let me just say, it took me a lot longer than I would’ve liked, and I found myself working my way well into the afternoon – but I got it done. There was a time where a day like today would really throw me off schedule, so much so I would feel a bit lost for the rest of the week, but I decided it necessary to change my perspective, to pour myself a cup of tea and get on with it. I feel good about the work I managed to produce today, and I know I can continue working efficiently now that I’ve lifted myself out of my creative slump. It may not always be easy, nor will it always result in work being done, but what’s important is that you made the effort to be creative today. Make that effort every day, and something incredible will come of it. That I’m sure.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” – Maya Angelou
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post and I hope that you enjoyed!