Being Creative When You Just Don’t Feel Like It

Being Creative When You Just Don’t Feel Like It

Falling into a creative slump is a blegh experience. This is especially true if your job depends on your ability to create and execute unique ideas. Then not only is getting into a rut annoying, it can cause feelings of desperation and despair. But hey, even if it’s just annoying, it’s a drag.

Reasons for Getting into a Rut

There are plenty of reasons why a creative person might lack their ingenuous luster for a while. For instance:

  • Being overworked
  • Home life troubles
  • Hunger
  • Being in a food coma
  • It being a Friday afternoon or Monday morning (the time of week really does matter)
  • Being pressured to meet a quickly approaching deadline
  • Having a health issue
  • Being sleep deprived
  • …Just not feelin’ it

And there are plenty of other reasons too.

Getting Out of a Rut

People react differently to periods of creative slumber. It can cause frustration, sadness, hopelessness, annoyance, exhaustion, and so on. To make matters worse, there’s no single, concrete way to free oneself from it. I can offer general suggestions though, based on my own experience and that of others.

Be kind to yourself

You might be tempted to beat yourself up because those ideas aren’t blossoming like they usually do. Chillax. First, because you deserve to feel good about yourself. Second, because tying yourself in knots won’t help bolster your creative process. It will give you a headache, though.

On the flip side, self-care techniques like exercise, having a wee nap, consuming a giant mug of tea, or taking time away from a project can be of benefit. The idea is to make you feel at ease and refreshed.

Don’t force creativity

I don’t think I’ve met a soul who’s come up with a gem of an idea through use of force. However, I’ve known plenty who have done so by stepping away from their frustrations for a while. Sometimes the mind just needs to cool down and reset itself before it can properly function again. This is healthy, so don’t feel guilty about stepping away from a bothersome task if needed. You’re actually doing yourself a favour.

Start somewhere

So after you’ve had that scrumptious tea or time away from problems that seem unsolvable, it’s time to start plugging away at something. You can choose whatever project suits your fancy but it’s important to start your engine again. It might be uncomfortable, like jumping into a 73-degree Fahrenheit pool, but once you warm up you’ll be far more comfortable than you were before.

Find out why you want to be creative

Sometimes we stumble into a creative slump because we lose our sense of purpose. Making things for the sake of it can be liberating for some but devitalizing for others. If you fall into the latter category it might be time to assess what makes you tick. If you find you’ve been spending more time on projects you aren’t crazy about than ones you are, you would benefit from making some changes. You deserve to spend your life doing the things you love.

If you can, don’t work on projects you don’t enjoy

As per my previous point, stay away from projects that suck the life out of you as much as possible. It doesn’t do your state of mind any good and will turn your creative lifestyle into drudgery.

Sometimes, though, ya’ just don’t have a choice in the matter. If you have bills to pay, for instance, walking away from bland work might be impossible. If this is the case for you, you might have to….

Muscle through the stuff that doesn’t excite you

Feeling uninspired due to working on projects that aren’t your niche is common and completely understandable. However, if you’re in a tight situation and have to finish work that you don’t enjoy, it’s best to just get on with it to the best of your ability. If it doesn’t turn out as well as you’d like, try not to stress about it. You can only do your best.

Examine the rest of your life

Maybe you’re lack of motivation isn’t due to the task at hand being problematic but because other areas of your life are out of whack. If you’ve been putting issues on the back burner for a while consider the fact that they might not stay there. Big or small, our problems have a tendency to re-emerge at inconvenient times when not properly dealt with. If every other facet of your creative life is up to snuff and you can’t figure out why you’re struggling, this could be why.

Feeling unmotivated from time to time is completely normal. If you notice these periods becoming more frequent, though, it’s time to evaluate what truly makes you happy and how to achieve this. You deserve to create the best possible life for yourself.



Greg Plante
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