Ways To Find An Escape From The Creative Rut
I don’t know about you, but I think that creative people are especially susceptible to the pitfalls of getting ‘stuck in a rut’. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you just cannot get the productivity level up to where it needs to be. Or even worse, the motivation and productivity level is there, but the ideas just aren’t coming through. So frustrating. We often need to find ways out of this rut, and fast.
If you’re self-employed like many of us are, it’s not as easy as simply ‘forcing’ yourself to create. Any designer or artist will tell you the same; it just doesn’t work like that for us. In fact it’s almost counterproductive to try and force creative work out of yourself, as whatever you produce during stints of enforced creation will invariably be of poorer quality to what you’re capable of. Or even if it’s a fair quality, you’ll hate it because it wasn’t something you created when you were in the right frame of mind.
The best creative work is almost always undertaken whilst in the ‘maker mindset’, and that’s not something that you can force.
However, to try and combat the problem of ‘the rut’, I’ve come up with a little list of ways to find creative inspiration and try and get yourself back on the productivity train. It’s not always easy, but its doable!
The ultimate inspiration-giver, no? Whenever I’m feeling particularly uninspired or unable to draw, I throw myself into a book that’s so far removed from my own reality it allows my brain the space it needs to start imagining again. That’s the beauty of books, particularly ones with fantasy or science-fiction based settings; the escapism is like fresh air to a tired mind, and the creative brain really draws new life from it.
Ok, this isn’t for everyone, but it really works for me. Sometimes when I feel as though all my ideas have run aground, I like to look at the work of Salvador Dali. Similarly to the escapism of novels, the work of Dali almost always leaves me with food for thought. Admittedly, some of it is darker than I’d expect, but it helps my creative mind to start firing up new ideas, new patterns, new vibes. And that’s always a good thing.
This is a relatively new effort of mine, but one that I’ve found has been working quite well. It’s a way of setting yourself small daily tasks, but in a very theraputic, artistic way. There are loads of online resources about bullet journals, but don’t be put off by all the Pinterest-worthy images you’ll find on Instagram. I’ve used an old sketchbook for mine and some coloured pencils. Just use whatever is to hand and you’ll soon find that your productivity level will rocket if you stick to small, achievable tasks each day.
Go Back To Basics
By this, I mean get the paints out and just start making colourful patterns. Don’t worry what it looks like. Get your pens and doodle. Sometimes, when we’re constantly creating for a purpose, we forget what it’s like to just create for the sheer joy of creating. Allow yourself some freedom and remember why you’re a creative person in the first place. Teach yourself to fall back in love with the art of creation.
Ease Up On Yourself
So you’re having a bit of a break. You know what, that’s not always a bad thing. Look at me, I’ve had a break from Rosarts for the thick end of a year! I needed it though, I know that now. Sometimes, you need to listen to your brain when it’s telling you to stop, regroup and refresh your focus. Don’t be hard on yourself if you find your way into the creative rut because it’ll only become harder when you’re trying to find ways out of it.
So there you have five quick ways to find an escape from the doldrums of the rut. It’s not always easy and I can only speak from my own experience, but just remember that there is a way out of it and one day, even though you may feel absolutely sickened by the idea of designing and making right now, one day you will want to get back to what you love.
It just takes time and a little bit of creative thinking – but you’re naturally good at that, aren’t you? Remember where your heart lies and you’ll be back to your creative best in no time, I promise.
Have you experienced a creative rut before? What did you do to try and find your way out of it? Let me know over on Twitter or you can pop a comment into the box below.