We've all been there. Staring at the computer. Braindead. Feeling the pressure. Even if being creative isn't your job. Even if you don't consider yourself a creative person [which is insane because everyone is creative in their own way]. Everyone has to create at some point in their lives. Most of the time, there's a deadline on it too whether it is from your work, your family, or simply an expectation you've placed on yourself. Getting things done, productivity - these are important values in our society. And I admit, they are extremely important to me too.
So what to do when you're just not feeling it? The ideas aren't flowing. You're starting to get anxious. The tightness in your chest or the pit in your stomach [or both] are starting to form. "But it has to be done by [insert date and time]. Where are all the ideas I had this morning?? Are they ever going to come back to me???"
Seriously, if I had a nickel for every time those phrases ran through my head, I'd have enough to buy a...uh, err, something really expensive. See, we all hit that creative wall at some point. And when you do, step away from the computer. For real. Put that thing away! Because the last thing you need is to be staring at all the other creative work out there. Your creativity will not come from Pinterest or Instagram. So just flip it the bird and shut it down.
So then what? What will help? Any of the ideas from this list of 16, that's what. Notice I said proven in the title. These are all things I specifically do when I'm feeling void of creativity and they've actually helped. They are in no special order. Choose one at random and give it a go. You've got nothing to lose!
1. Listen to music.
2. Workout, go for a run or go for a walk.
Moving your body helps to clear your mind of stress and anxiety while allowing your creative thoughts to flow. I've realized this one is pretty critical to my creative (and overall) sanity.
3. Take a shower or a bath.
I have no idea why, but showering has this calming effect on my mind and body and I unintentionally become an idea machine. I always keep pen and paper outside the door because I will inevitably come up with something that needs to be written down.
4. Join in on a Sesh Coworking event.
You don't even have to talk about specific projects you are working on. Simply chatting over coffee or asking what other women are currently working on can be inspiration enough. Even just being surrounded by other empowered working women can have an enormous effect on your creative spirit. Check out our Events page for our next coworking sesh!
5. Carry an idea notebook.
Or dedicate an idea page on the notes app of your phone. You never know when an interesting idea will pop up. Having a place to quickly write it down will not only allow you to remember it, but will also train your brain to acknowledge these ideas no matter where you are and no matter how crazy you inner voice says they are.
6. Redecorate or reorganize your space.
Giving your area a facelift refreshes your environment and your spirit.
7. Take a nap.
Even just a short 15 or 20 minute rest can quiet a rambling mind.
8. Switch to a different project.
Oh, your inner critic will scream at you for this one for sure. "Why are you working on that?? It doesn't need to be done until (insert date and time which feels super faraway)! The other is more important!!!!".
Well, maybe so, but if you attempt to stay with the stonewalled project, it's pretty much a fact that you aren't going to get anywhere. If that's the case, then you might as well get somewhere with a different project. It'll make you feel more productive and may get those creative juices flowing enough for you to return to your original project.
9. Do yoga.
10. Try a new medium or form of art purely for fun.
11. Do laundry or clean.
Sometimes this works for me and I HATE to clean. As long as it's a mind-numbing task, it'll help.
12. Go to a restaurant for a meal or coffee.
I always enjoy a good people-watching session (I'm not a creeper - I prefer to be called an observer of life). Plus, someone else makes your food. Win, win.
13. Identify your most productive times.
...and work with them rather than against.
14. Visit a museum, park or nature trail.
15. Host a craft night with your friends.
This is a fun one! Decide on something generic to make, gather your random supplies and have your friends bring theirs. It's fun to hang out with friends and create, plus you can be inspired by their work as well.
16. Trust that it will come back.
And it will; I promise. By trusting in the creative process, you release the stress and make room for the good.
Your creative brain can't be expected to perform at 100% all the time. Picture it as a muscle that needs to be flexed regularly, worked regularly and rested often. The more you work the creative muscle, the better it will perform when needed and the quicker it will bounce back when you're having an off-day.
Have you ever hit that creative wall? What other things have you done to pull yourself out of the rut?