5 Things to do if you're stuck in a (creative) rut
We've all been there. Creative clogging happens to the best of us. One day you're typing, painting or singing your little heart out and the next, it's like everything you do just comes out as less than average. When we look at things too closely, too intently and dramatically, we loose perspective. It's like watching a kettle boil. There is no perception of progress, everything feels slower and more sluggish. In that moment, we become our harshest critics.
The last month and a half has fallen short in the writing department for me, and I'm only now gradually coming back to my old creative habits, but this time, in a new way.
Here's what helped me so far:
#1.Create before you consume.
I heard this concept in an interview with blogger Jenna Kutcher. It kind of blew me away, and I wish I could claim it as my own idea. As simple as it was, it made so much sense. Up until then, I fell under the “consume then create category”. As soon as I open my eyes in the morning, my hands go straight to my phone and my thumb starts doing it’s little workout. *Scroll, Scroll, Scroll*. You end up comparing, judging and influencing your own work based on what you saw, heard or felt. While most of the time this can be a good source of inspiration, it's better if it comes straight from the source: YOU.
If you want to create and generate something that authentically comes from you, you have to put everyone else’s work aside. Yes, it might be great to be inspired by people and their ideas, but there’s something that makes you, you. Try not touching any social media for a couple hours after you wake up. While immitation is the sincerest form of flattery, disconnect from other's tone and style. See what happens when you zone in on your own.
#2. Disconnect. Go for a walk.
Next time you get some air, turn your mobile data off. Go to settings, keep your phone on, just swipe to turn your mobile data off. That way you still get any important calls, but you won’t get bothered by any distracting notifications, texts or updates. How many times do you catch yourself checking your phone while walking? Really, even just for an hour a day, giving yourself the space to not check your phone, clear your mind and focus on what’s around you, gives your brain a really great vacation.
Before you know it, you’ll be noticing things you usually wouldn’t and that’ll get you thinking. Whatever gets you thinking, gets your creatives juices flowing.
#3. Give yourself a new Challenge.
Make plans for coffee with someone completely new. Or try going coffee-free for a week (hard, I know). Do it solo or with a buddy. Go vegan for a week, heck, even just meditate for 3 mins everyday. Discipline can be a wonderful kick-in-the-butt when you're most in need of it. It holds you accountable and requires a little extra effort out of your day. It will feel like a refresher and you'll see things in a new light, no matter the challenge. Who knows, it might spur on your next article or creative piece.
#4. Carry a notebook.
Sounds old school, but I went for a walk one day (sans phone), coffee in hand (I’m beginning to think coffee is the source of all great ideas) and I was suddenly overcome with a gazillion ideas, all at once. It was overwhelming to say the least, but jotting them down on my phone seemed inauthentic. I found the nearest bookstore and bought the most simple, black notebook. Best decision I ever made. It was from that moment on that I took No Shoes No Worries seriously and the motivation kicked in, hard. I write all my creative ideas in that book, any ideas for the blog, any collaborations, inspiring quotes, my to-do lists, my goals. Even the crap that just needs to come out of my head and onto paper. Having them all in one place let’s me look back at what I’ve ticked off and is a reminder of how far I’ve come.
Buy a book with a great story line, one that gets you excited to shut off from the world. Even if it’s a total and complete beach read. Sometimes, you need a little escape, and while netflix can be great for that, the old school way could do something great for your brain. You might surprise yourself.