A new school term comes with a jolt of energy and inspiration. Just as soon as you think it couldn’t get any better, writer’s block creeps in. Or maybe you keep referencing the same inspiration again and again for a design. Maybe you’re having trouble perfecting that edit on your most recent photoshoot. The simplest way I’ve found to describe this halt in productivity is by calling it a creative block. Creative slumps are hard and unfortunately a frequent part of life. They feel seemingly endless and can be extremely draining on your motivation. Causes of these blocks of inspiration can be limitless. In my personal experience, if I don’t give myself enough time between projects, self-care nights, or if I’m putting too much on my plate, these slumps become longer and more frequent. Having gone through quite a few creative blocks in my college career, I have developed a tool kit of tips and tricks on how to escape the black hole. Here you’ll learn a few things about pulling yourself out of a slump and finding your power again.
Slow Down, Creativity Has No Expiration Date
The most common cause of a creative block is working too hard for too long. Prioritizing your creative energy is the best first step to take. It’s important to remember that creativity has no expiration date. I promise. That passion you have for your side hustle, or that idea you have for a project aren’t going to go anywhere. If deadlines aren’t an issue, try to focus on one less project. I know it’s hard to realize, but not everything has to happen at lightning fast speed. Slowing down and prioritizing your energy is the best way to ensure you are taking care of yourself. If you’re taking care of yourself the way you should be, the work will follow.
Take a Step Back
Depending on the severity of the creative block, sometimes the best thing to do is take a short break. Key word here is short. I’m not saying to take a week off from your project, and I’ll get into why in a few steps. Take a few minutes, an hour, at max a day. Take a step back to take a walk, a nap, a mental reset. Stepping back for a short while ensures that you renter your creative mindset or project with a fresh eye and a new perspective.
Don’t Go It Alone
It’s easy to think that by hunkering down and isolating yourself it’ll be easier to focus on the work. This form of thinking is actually very untrue. There doesn’t have to be this idea of being the isolated, hard-working, tortured artist who churns out work that is higher quality. The best way to combat this creeping idea of isolation in a creative block is to talk about it, write about it, reach out. Talk to your friends, and spend time with the people you love. Take this as a mental reset and a reminder to know that you’re not alone in this. Venting through my creative block frustrations have been some of the most helpful tools to get me back on track.
Keep Working, No Matter What
I know it’s tempting to stop working all together during a creative block. To step back completely and take a break. Unfortunately this is one of the worst things to do. There’s certain times when extended breaks and moments of quiet are helpful, but these blocks are not one of those times. It’s like when you’re running water through old pipes to get all the rust out. You don’t want to stop running the water, you want to run it continuously and soon enough, you’ll get clean water again. Does that make sense? Creativity works the same way. Keep working, keep pushing, and soon enough the good work will return.
Find Inspiration in the Most Unlikely of Places
The majority of my personal creative blocks stem from a lack of new and innovative inspiration. Here’s the thing, I’m a predictable human being. I stick to what I know and what I love. Normally this great, and it’s allowed me to establish a system that works really well. However, the problems come when I’m looking for something new. So many blocks have emerged from just trying to find something new to write about. One particularly rough day, I was looking for a new color pairing for a project I was working on, and I was stumped. All day long I couldn’t find anything that was striking my fancy. Then, I ran an errand for my parents to the grocery store, and there it was. The perfect combination of colors sitting there in the vegetable isle of the grocery store.
Sometimes you need to go so far out of what you know in order to get back to it. Creative blocks can slink in, unexpectedly, and seemingly out of now where. Maybe all it needs is something equally unexpected to knock it back into place. Either way, grocery store merchandise is now one of my favorite places to get color story inspiration from now. Take a step back, slow down, and look to the unexpected. Bouncing back from a creative block doesn’t have to feel as hard as falling into one. Try these tricks and go get your creative power back.
How do you bounce back from a creative block? Let us know in the comments or tag us @cfashionista
Opening image by Kiley Hixson