How to get out of a creative rut
Updated: Feb 15, 2020
It has happened to the best of us. It will happen again. Possibly even a few more times after that. We get in ruts. Plain and simple. No matter what type of creative person you are, it is normal to lose sight of our creative sides. Our tendency to force ourselves to be creative during this time, however, is more counterproductive than we realize. It often leads to the opposite of what we want, more burn out and longer time spent in the creative drought.
I recently put myself in this situation. Burning the candles at both ends, I found myself extremely burnt out. Instead of resting or resetting, I forced myself to keep being creative, keep moving forward, and pushing my limits. This turned out to make my rut last longer and made me even more frustrated. Instead of taking a week for self-care, I turned something that could be solved in a week to something that lasted months. MONTHS. In an attempt to save you from this horrible mistake, I have created a list of ways to help you get out of a creative rut.
This is more than about getting your work done or getting out of a rut to continue growing your profits. It is about taking care of yourself, reminding yourself why you are creating in the first place, and ensuring you do not end up hating something you love.
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Try one, a few, or all.. just do what it takes to healthily get out of your creative rut. It only takes one idea, one spark, to get you rolling again!
1. STOP (if possible)
The first and best thing you can do is to stop your creative work. I understand that this might not be possible if your job depends on it.. but stop if you can. Take a vacation. Pass on that project. If you work on creative things on the side, really stop. It will benefit you in the long run. Pushing through and creative 'meh' content will not bring you profits. Taking a break and getting back to your normal self will.
Reading can be a great source of inspiration. Dive into biographies, fiction, self-help books, or really anything. You never know when you will be inspired or what you will be inspired by. It will take one page or one sentence to get the ball rolling again. Reading will also give you a task to do during your creative break! One of my favorite books to read, when I am in a rut, is Harry Potter.
3. Get back to nature
I truly believe that many of our problems can be solved by getting back to nature. Nature can be extremely inspirational, it holds many answers and a bit of fresh air can be great for clearing your mind. Getting away from the hustle and bustle, the constant notifications, and sitting stagnant in front of the screen can change your perspective.
4. Do mind-numbing tasks
One of my biggest issues is when I get stuck on an idea, I overthink it and do not stop thinking about it. This could not be MORE counterproductive. There is a reason our best ideas come while we are in the shower, doing the dishes or mowing the lawn. We LET go and get some silence. When we are doing these mind-numbing tasks, ideas come to us. So work on a puzzle or organize your closet. When we stop obsessing, the answers will come.
Working out has many benefits beyond physical health. It can reduce stress, help with depression and even give you a brain boost. It might be just what you need!
6. See your friends
Have a girls day, throw a brunch party or just hang out and have a quiet night in. Being around your friends can be rejuvenating and will get your mind off your creative projects.
7. Journal (you might realize you are not in a rut)
Write about your day, your thoughts, your goals and everything in between. You might just realize you are having more creative ideas than you realize or notice where you could make a change to get things flowing again. Journaling is done by A LOT of successful people (personally and professionally). This is one train you really should hop on!
8. Try something new
Trying something new can lead you to meet new people, grow as a person, uncover a new skill, and break up your current routine. You never know what will change your life and your thinking. So get out there and try something new!
Meditating has been known to reduce stress, control anxiety, promote self-awareness and generate kindness. The best part about it? It can be done anywhere! Just taking a few minutes in the morning before getting started on the day can be highly beneficial.
10. Listen to inspiring videos or podcasts
Like reading, listening to inspiring content can help you have a revelation or spark a new idea. When I am feeling stuck, I turn to TED talks to get me moving again. No matter what specific thing you need to hear, it is out there. Put one on when you are getting ready or on your way to work to get in the right mind frame!
11. Find your inner child
There is no doubt that we were our most wild and creative when we were children. Society had not yet put boundaries around our imagination or expectations. Do something you used to love when you were a child. Draw outside the lines. Dance like a fool. Go rollerblading. Whatever it is that you loved when you were a child, lean into that. You will be surprised at how you feel after.
12. Work with your hands
As a society, we spend entirely too much time looking at a screen. Most of my creation involved my computer. When in doubt, I turn to physical creation to get my mind moving again. Paint, build a table or make a physical vision board collage from magazines.
13. Go on a road trip
There is something freeing about going on a road trip. Getting out of your normal space and adventuring can lead you to inspiration you did not expect. Grab a friend and drive an hour in a random direction and see where it leads!
14. Change of scenery
Simply changing your work area is a small way you can help your creativity. Either reorganize and give your desk a new look or head to the park or coffee shop to get some work done. This is small but significant.
15. Try a new medium
When in doubt, try something else creative. Try photography, painting, food styling, art direction a photoshoot, or home staging. Or maybe hop on the other side of the camera and model instead. WRITE! It might just open your eyes to new possibilities.
Have any other creative issues? Let me know below!