Very few things terrify creatives like a creative slump. The blank screen/mood board/page/recorder is before you, the deadline is fast approaching, but you don't know what to do or where to begin. You’re trying your best to spur creativity, but the ideas aren't forthcoming.
Does this describe your situation? Don’t fret, you’re not alone. Every creative has been in your shoes at one point in their lives. The concern here is how you get out of a creative slump. In this post, you will understand what a creative slump is, why you struggle to create, and practical steps to reignite your passion and get those creative ideas flowing again.
Are you ready to beat those deadlines and create as you’ve always done – perhaps even better? Then, keep reading.
Understanding Creative Slump: Definition and Causes
A creative slump is a state where your creative energy is low. It describes a moment where uninspired or unmotivated to create anything.
Creative slumps can happen to any creative, lasting anywhere from days to months. This can be worrisome, especially if your income depends on your creativity. To properly understand and know what to do when you're lost in a creative slump, you need to identify why you fell into a creative slump in the first place.
Some of the common causes of creative slump include:
Stress: When you overwork your brain to the point of exhaustion or you're overwhelmed due to excessive pressure and stress, it may lead to a creative slump. When you're stressed, your brain finds it difficult to focus, leading to decreased cognitive performance - in other words, the inability to create.
Distractions: If you're working in an environment with too many distractions, it can make it difficult to focus on your creative energy. The distractions may be noise from the surroundings, social media notifications and so on. They constantly pull your mind in different directions, making it hard for your mind to focus and bring up fresh ideas.
Other causes of creative slump are overthinking, fear of failure, and fatigue. Now, let's discuss how you can get yourself out of this nightmare.
How to reignite your passion and get out of a creative slump
Whether you're creating for livelihood or doing it for fun, you're bound to experience a creative slump at least once (if you haven't already).
Below you have some tips on how you can reignite your passion and get out of that creative slump:
Taking a Break and Self-Reflection
Taking a break is a good recommendation for a creative slump, especially if the cause of your slump is stress-related. You can take a walk, call a friend, see a movie, or sleep. Just leave the work for now.
Resting and taking a break can help you rediscover your passion, refocus, and enhance your creativity. A well-rested brain is better positioned to make new connections and recognize new patterns in information, which is necessary for creative growth.
Something always sets an undying fire in your bosom (no matter what). Find it! It could be the idea of becoming world-class in your craft, the joy of beating a deadline, or even the thought of making more money.
So, look deep within and list thing, ideas or thoughts that inspire you to get things done. It could also include a list of what you like about your work. Then, look at that list and channel the inspiration it gives you to your creativity.
Experimenting with New Techniques and Mediums
Sometimes, change is all you need to get out of a creative slump. It could be a change of device, change of workstation, change of topic, change of notepads, or even change of location. In fact, it could be a change in your routine. Just try new ways of doing things; the different settings may stimulate your creativity.
Collaborating and Seeking Feedback
Sometimes, your creative slump is caused by your inability to make sense of the disjointed, disorganized ideas in your head. Collaboration may help in such cases. Sharing the idea with a supportive fellow can help you make sense of the ideas and put you in a better position to get on with the project. So, get a collaborator, share your thoughts (no matter how chaotic they may sound,) and ask for feedback.
Overcoming Self-Doubt and Fear of Failure
Self-doubt, fear, and a creative slump often work together. And it's not a pleasant combination. However, when you cannot create, self-doubt and fear are not far from you. Hence, the need for you to overcome them.
One of the ways to do this is to review some of your best works. These works can help build up your confidence to create stunning results again. And when the ideas start coming back, put them down and don't trap yourself in perfectionism.
Embracing Failure and Learning from Mistakes
Lastly, understand that this is a phase that every creative has to go through. So, take it easy on yourself as you go through it. Be intentional about learning and knowing more about yourself in the process. Take note of what works for you. This will help you understand how to handle a creative slump when you find yourself in it next.
Over to you.