There you are, sitting down to write another post, design another landing page, or whatever it is you do best. But the blinking cursor seems to be the only thing you can focus on. You could swear it’s mocking you.
You begin to type, draw, create—then promptly stop. Something isn’t right. It’s not the amount of sleep you got the night before, nor is it the work you’re doing. But you can’t seem to put your finger on why your inspiration is lacking.
If you’re nodding in solidarity, you’re likely in a good old-fashioned creative rut.
It happens to us all; even the most creative people hit a wall at some point. It’s inevitable, and quite frankly it’s part of the process. Creative work is hard work, so those of us in creative industries need to take care of ourselves accordingly. Better yet, if we as creative people don’t take steps to maintain our ingenuity, our businesses will take a hit.
Let’s take a look at a few ways you can revive your creative side for the sake of both you and your business.
Shall we begin?
Take a class on something you’re interested in
There’s no better way to spark creativity than to dive into another topic that piques your interest outside of your daily work. Stepping outside of the industry you work in every once in a while can be one of the best things you can do for yourself creatively.
Do you have a hidden passion for music? Have you always wanted to learn how to watercolor? Sign up for a class on Skillshare or Udemy and spend some time with another creative avenue that you usually don’t get to spend time with. Don’t be afraid to really dig in, either.
If you find yourself feeling guilty about spending time on something that isn’t necessarily work-related, remember: you’re taking steps to make room for the fantastic work you’re capable of doing. Who knows, you may learn something that you can use in your next project or post, or it could crack open a whole new realm of possibilities for your business.
Block out time to write
An idea can pop into the mind at any given time; there’s no telling when your Next Great Idea will find its way into your psyche. That’s why making time to write each day is a great way to bring those ideas to life.
Whether you consider yourself a writer or not, this exercise is great for getting ideas out of your head and onto the page. Plus, once you have them in front of you, you may be able to make better sense of them.
The beauty of a writing practice is that there’s no right or wrong way to approach it. You can pick a prompt and start writing, or you can brain-dump the ideas you have floating around in your head onto the page. Either way, you’re making space for your ideas to develop.
Here are a few of my favorite writing prompts that may reignite your creativity:
- Write about a time when you felt vulnerable.
- When was the last time you tried something new?
- The year is 2121. You just woke up and everything is dark. There is, however, one small light at the end of the hallway.
As you can probably tell, these prompts will spark a variety of ideas from personal reflection to creative storytelling. Go and write!
Mix up your daily routine
Monotony is the killer of creativity, right? Or so they say. So let’s change things a bit.
Now, I’m not suggesting you cast your beloved routine aside and forget about it altogether. That would be counterproductive. The secret is to tweak your routine enough to where things feel different, but not so different that you slip into the overwhelm.
Start small. Instead of rolling out of bed, turning on the coffee pot, and sitting down at your desk, try going for a short walk before you start work for the day. Or you could work more breaks into your schedule.
No matter how you decide to mix up your daily routine, give it an honest try. It may feel different at first, but you never know what you might come up with on your mid-morning walk or as you dive into that book you just downloaded on your Kindle.
Make time for exercise
We know regular exercise helps minimize stress and anxiety, but what else can it do?
Wendy Suzuki, a neuroscientist and psychology professor at New York University, claims there’s a powerful correlation between exercise and creativity. What’s more, a study from Stanford University found that walking makes room for more creative thinking and better ideas.
Integrating exercise into your daily life is one of the best things we can do for ourselves mentally, physically, and from a business perspective, too. If you’re in a healthy space mentally and physically, you are set up to create better work for your clients.
Sign up for a workout class with a friend (bonus points if it’s a fellow Unemployable pal), go for a long walk through your neighborhood while listening to a podcast, or clip on your helmet and bike around town. If you don’t have a ton of time, fitness apps like Aaptiv and Nike+ Training Club are great resources for squeezing in a quick yet impactful workout.
However you fit exercise into your life, the benefits will prove to be worth it every time.
Step away from your desk
We’ve all been there before. As you try to organize your thoughts for a new post or get a jumpstart on an upcoming project, you feel like you’re trudging through mud instead of making any real progress.
Stop. Breathe. Step away from the keyboard. What you do apart from your desk is up to you (perhaps, maybe something mentioned above), but make sure you take time away from your office.
That trudging-through-the-mud feeling is a sure sign your brain needs a break, so permit yourself to do just that. You’ll know when it’s time to get back to the keyboard.
Keep the creativity alive at all costs
Falling into creative ruts is a normal thing. In fact, it’s to be expected. But there are plenty of ways to climb out of that rut and restart with a restored sense of ingenuity.
The bottom line: don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself struggling to create. Make room for creative endeavors and activities—both your mental health and business depend on it.