Winter in New England is trying, to say the least. You would think after 25 years I would be used to the gray, dreary, cold days, but they still sap the life out of me. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve seen sunshine in three days—how could anyone be motivated to do anything without sunshine?!
All this to say that I’m in a serious creative rut. I don’t want to write anything creative (I wouldn’t even know where to begin). I don’t want to take pictures (everything is brown anyway). I don’t even want to write blog posts (I’m forcing myself since I’ve skipped so many weeks).
So, in an attempt to help myself shake off the weight that’s holding me back creatively, I’m compiling a list of six ways to get out of a creative rut. Hopefully one of these methods will help me, and perhaps one will help you, too.
1. Try Something New
It can be boring to do the same tasks day after day, even if you love them. I’ll admit I do get tired of writing, so sometimes it helps to channel my energy into a different craft, like painting, scrapbooking or drawing. The change of pace often helps me to feel inspired again, both in my writing and in life.
2. Change Your Environment
Personally, I’d be happy to stay inside all winter, bundled up in sweatpants and blankets. However, looking at the same four walls every day is a surefire way to lose your motivation. I’m a firm believer that you have to get out, see things and meet people to maintain inspiration, so when I’m feeling unmotivated, I go to a café to work.
3. Let Yourself Fail
When you put too much pressure on yourself to succeed, you may find yourself avoiding tasks that you’re not confident about. I’m supposed to be a “professional” writer, so I often get down on myself when I’m struggling with a project.
As a “professional” writer, I often get down on myself when I’m struggling with a project.
If you find yourself in this type of predicament, give yourself permission to fail. It’s OK not to get things right the first time, and sometimes failure can actually provide the inspiration you’ve been searching for.
One of the things I miss most about living in the city is being surrounded by all my favorite creative people. If you’re going to succeed, it’s essential to have a good support system to bounce ideas off of and hash through creative blocks with. Whether you collaborate on a new project or just hang out, being around people who inspire you can help you get out of even the deepest rut.
5. Learn Something
I don’t miss college for a second, but I do miss learning! When you pick up a new skill, it can help you look at your job differently and get you motivated to take risks and try new things. So watch some YouTube videos, take an online class or find a workshop in your neighborhood. Keep learning!
6. Get Away From the Internet
While the internet is one of the main reasons I’m gainfully employed, it’s also the bane of my existence. Seriously, I get so lost in the internet sometimes—I can scroll for hours without accomplishing or learning anything.
When I’m feeling particularly uninspired, I tend to curl up on the couch and get lost in the internet. However, that’s exactly the opposite of what I should do. When I force myself to walk away from the internet, that’s when I start to feel better.
Take a hike. Go to the park. Go out to eat. Walk around the mall. Just leave your phone and your tablet and your smart watch behind. Seeing the world unfiltered is the best way to get inspired to create.