Learning From Your Creative Rut

Have you ever found yourself in a creative rut? I know I’ve experienced this both in and out of work at separate or similar times. It can be a painful process, especially when you feel you should be moving forward with a project. The rut is cyclical – you don’t feel creative or are in a work rut, you try to push through it, produce work that’s not your best, then you feel like crap and so on. It’s draining!

I recently experienced this with this blog. When I set my goals for my blog (Pursuing A Passion Project), I planned for running into to this lack of creative motivation. Knowing it can happen doesn’t ease the sting when it arrives though. I wondered why I didn’t feel like writing or how I could “fix” this and push through as fast as possible. Little did I know, I was missing the point entirely.

When we find ourselves in a creative rut, it usually indicates there are other things in our life drawing our attention. Each day we are allotted a level of mental clarity. Throughout the day our mental clarity is dispensed, which is why at the end of the day we often feel tired and unable to do anything that involves critical thinking.

Instead of beating myself up for not writing or thinking of new blog ideas, I tried understanding what I was going through and allowed myself to be. I wrote when I had free time, knowing full well it wouldn’t be great material but that writing in and of itself would tow me through this busy season. I also know that action can pull us from a rut; when we sit idly by waiting for motivation to strike it often doesn’t. Sometimes we need to show up and put in the initial work (without expectation) because we know that is truly what our heart seeks and eventually, when our brain has had time to recharge, our mind will arrive again as well.

If you find yourself in a rut, creative or otherwise, I’ve found these tips have helped me tremendously.

Don’t Beat Yourself Up

Going through a creative rut is perfectly normal and knowing it will happen from time to time eases the sting when it arrives. Understand that’s what’s happening and give yourself a hug – your brain is putting its energy towards something else that requires it. Don’t water down the creative rut further by being negative towards yourself.

Explore The Areas You Feel Depleted

Like I mentioned earlier, if you feel you’re creatively depleted search your life for other areas that may be sucking your energy. Are you particularly busy at work? Do you have a project due? Is there something personal that’s taking up your mental space? Identifying what the root cause can help demystify this struggle. Knowing and understanding the root cause will allow you to give yourself grace. Remember, these busy seasons don’t last forever, so try to remember that. 

Continue Pursuing Your Passion Project

Showing up for yourself is the biggest way to spur creativity. Showing up doesn’t mean you have to deliver the best thing you’ve ever created, but it can help you feel ready to go when your mental haze clears. Showing up for yourself is like keeping a promise to yourself, do what you love when you have free time. You might not feel great when you’re doing it, but afterwards you’ll be glad you did. It’s important to keep this in mind: action begets motivation. Your future self will thank you for taking action even when you don’t feel like it.

The answer could also be do nothing…

This feels contrary to everything I wrote above, but if you’re able to differentiate the “not feeling motivated” feeling with the “I truly need a break” feeling, then listen to your gut. If your body and mind craves a true break, that is exactly what you should give it. Giving yourself a timeout can actually jump start your creativity. It really comes down to listening to yourself and giving yourself what your mind and body calls for.

Other Creative Jump Starting Tips:

  • Switching up your schedule
  • Change up your work space
  • Listen to podcasts that motivate you, here are a few of mine:
    • Rise Podcast with Rachel Hollis
    • The Lazy Genius
    • Happier with Gretchen Rubin
    • Super Soul Conversations with Oprah
  • Journal
  • Exercise

What other ways help you get out of a creative rut? Share with me, I wannna hear them!

Thanks for checking in this week! Stay tuned for my next post, I’m giving a sneak peek into the beauty products I’ve been experimenting with lately.

-Meg

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