How to Get through a Creative Slump

WTF

Have you ever had a week (or even a month) where you felt uncreative, uninspired, and generally unimpressed with everything you are doing?

We’ve all been there. For me, it usually happens after I finish a big project (and sometimes when I am in the middle of one. uh oh.). You never know when it is going to hit. But it will. Trust me. EVERYONE goes through periods where they feel a lack of creativity. Even in the people you admire most- you know, the ones that you think are immune to that sort of thing because they are so dang awesome. Yep, it happens to them too.

But not to worry. I happen to think that the slumps are part of the process. The downturns are what allow for upturns. Right? So, with that in mind, here are a few suggestions I have for making it through a creative slump…

1. Let it go.

Holding onto the fact that you aren’t feeling especially inspired isn’t going to make things any better. So once you’ve acknowledged that you have a little somethin’, somethin’ to work out, do your best to let it go! Freeing yourself from that bogged down feeling you get when you are in a slump might be the very thing that clears your mind up for inspiration again. And if not, no worries- move on to tip #2.

2. Skip out.

Skip out on work early one day (if you can) and do something fun. There are no rules as to what ‘that thing’ should be. Just something that makes you happy and preferrably something that is unrelated to your work. Go to an afternoon movie. Take a hike with your dog. Go shopping. Just do something. Getting out of ‘work mode’ for a bit can really help and the change of environment is good for your mind.

3. Make a date with friends.

Invite a friend out to lunch and get chatty. Don’t be shy. Let her know your situation and ask her what she’s been inspired lately.  Who knows. It might just spark something in you too. FYI – A phone call (or google hangout) will work just fine if you can’t meet up in person. I schedule online hangouts with long distance blog friends at least once a week. It really helps! Your friends will always be there to help lift your spirits. And when you’re happy, your mind won’t be feeling all anxiety-ridden, making room in there again for new ideas.

4. Go with the flow.

The best way to explain this one is by telling a personal story…Tuesday, I finished up a series of large, time-consuming projects for a handful of sites. I loved doing them, but they were all due at the same time, so it was a bit stressful. I decided though, that when I turned in all the projects and everything was done, I would celebrate with a little break, for the rest of the day. Small, I know. But I thought it would be a nice reward. Well, I quickly realized that that wasn’t going to be possible because aside from the projects I had just turned in, I had plenty of other obligations that I couldn’t just put on hold. So I kept going…feeling a little defeated, admittedly.

Then the next day, I started writing this post, which actually began as an Interior Obsessions post and eventually turned into the post you are reading right now. Kind of a completely different direction, right? But, I just rolled with it.

Interestingly enough, I had been thinking, days before, about how I haven’t written any biz tips posts lately (luckily Tiffany does an amazing job bringing you her tips and biz inspirations every other week), and I was starting to feel guilty about the fact that I hadn’t contributed to that side of the blog in what felt like too long. Then, BAM! Just like that, a post like this one flows through my fingertips. On accident.

The point here is, sometimes it’s okay to fall down the rabbit hole. It may just lead you back to exactly where you want to be.

So those are my tips. At least for now…I have a handful more, but it was starting to get too long. So I’ll make a part II in the coming weeks.

Now it’s your turn.

What are your tricks and tips for overcoming a creative slump?

20 comments | Click here to reply

Great post – my biggest tip is number 2. When I’m in a slump I need to switch off and recharge by walking around, seeing a movie, or reading a book that’s completely unrelated to what I’m writing about!

Sophie | Spark

Thanks Sophie. Definitely understand what you are talking about. Recharging and downtime are crucial to the creative process.

papernstitch

These are great tips. I find acknowledging you are in a slump then doing something totally unrelated (I like to swim), really helps.

Charlotte @ LottsandLots

Definitely! Thanks for stopping by Charlotte.

papernstitch

Man, those weeks are rough! Thank you for the tips! I find that when I get into a slump I just step back and try to get my mind off of it, then once I stop focusing on my slump I’ll come up with some ideas. I find I usually come up with some inspiration if I head to a thrift store or super cute craft or gift store, too.

-Becca

Becca

Yes! I know what you mean. When I am totally stuck on a project, I head to the craft store and go down every aisle. Seeing all the possible materials I could use for this project or that DIY usually gets the ideas flowing again.

papernstitch

These are great tips! I’m a bit of a workaholic so I kinda get stuck in the routine, saving and saving (or paying for food and rent) without a break, and without much time for thinking creatively! I love number 3, I often get inspired by my friends so I definitely think it should be included (:
Astrid xo

Astrid xo

Yep! Friends are the best, aren’t they Astrid. Always there when you need ’em…whatever it is.

papernstitch

B! I love this so much! When we feel slumpy, it’s so easy to fight it and try to power through, which just leads up feeling so much more slumpy!

And then that leads guilt and shame and all kinds of yuck. <– no fun at all.

Thanks for the permission slip to chill out!! (I think I'll take you up on that!)

tiffany han

Thanks for this! what a good reminder… I just had the same ephiphany recently. Not everything can be marvelous.

Michelle

I try something new… a different craft. That usually helps. Or I look at magazines or books or blogs. So much inspiration out there.
Hugs

Terri

Thanks so much for this post! I mean, I know all of these things, but sometimes you just need to hear them from someone else. They are great tips to live by.

I definitely feel uninspired when I’ve been working on the same big project for a long time. I find it’s always helpful to take a break on work on a passion project that I’ve put aside (even if it’s just for an hour). I’ve also found that doing yoga clears my head, and gives me a break from staring at my screen (could be said for any physical activity I guess).

Alex from http://www.polkadottedpixels.com

Alexandra Pettinato

Some great tips. I find it so hard to switch off and get out of a slump, i just get angry with myself or upset. I need to learn how to just walk away and refuel and come back another time. It’s not healthy for creativity to be in that state of mind x

Sian Wheatcroft

Such a great article and so very true! Sometimes I’m trying so hard to get out of the creative slump that my mind becomes even more scatter-brained, edgy, and unfocused. I agree that it’s so important to take that step back, clear your mind, and just let go! I love a long walk with great scenery, invigorating hike, or yoga. Anything that gets that deep breath into you or visual scenery that just makes you go “wow!” It always sparks something positive and keeps me focused on a forward motion.

Jessica

one of the BEST methods I’ve found recently is to work in time intervals. I set my device timer for one hour and focus all of my attention on one project, when the timer goes off I move on to another and so on throughout the work day. It’s served me well when I have an enormous amount of projects or not nearly enough and I have to find motivation to make it through a slow day. I find that I get a tremendous amount done, even things I hadn’t planne on starting until down the road. It so easy to focus when you know it has an end point.

Kansas Ashley

Some amazing tips for those lulls in creative thought, I agree with having a break and don’t think about it for a while and inspiration will often come from the most unlikely of places, have to be careful I don’t take too many breaks though!!
Thanks for sharing :0)

Siân Pitchford

So true ! I definitely can relate to that. I sometimes end up stuck and can’t move forward with what I am doing and I find it really refreshing when I can read about other people going through similar situations. Most importantly how they deal with it successfully..
Really enjoyed reading this!
Thanks for sharing :))

Crafty

When I feel uninspired, I try mindmapping. Sit down with a blank paper in front of you and just write a word in the middle like summer than write everything that comes to your mind like drinks, picknicks, party, friends, ice-cream and suddenly I have 1000 ideas and I get excited again.

It’s the best!

Sarah

Definitely number 2 – change of scenery and recharge time. Then I can sit down and play… and something will come out of it!

Linda Tieu (@tortagialla)

[…] a follow up to this post about getting through a creative slump, I wanted to share a few more tips revolving around that […]

How to Conquer a Creative Slump (part II) | Paper & Stitch
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