Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Five Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Creative Slump

We are the women and men that can't sit around twiddling our thumbs for long. We are the ones that gain no satisfaction from typical desk work, office hours, or monotonous activity. We ran far away from that "safe and commonly desired" college degree and opted for an arts degree. We are the kids that gave our parents a perfectly timed powerpoint featuring music and images to substitute a standard Christmas list. And we are the high schoolers that always opted for the "perform a skit" final exam option.

We are the creatives and we are here to rule the world!

...Except, when another dim season of life hits and seems to take all of the motivation and pure fun out of creating. Maybe it's the long winter months that seem to pound you deeper into a hibernation hole. Or perhaps, it is a setback on the job search, even a burnout from a lengthy project. (For me, that "lengthy project" was college itself.) The harsh truth is the life of a creative will not always be abundant and gloriously fulfilling. There are seasons that will come and go leaving you with zero creative success in sight, and that's okay.

With Spring approaching (thank GOD) and new opportunities on the horizon, I have been slowly but surely pushing myself up to climb out of this unintentional creative slump. A giant breath of fresh air is charging towards all fellow innovators and I am encouraging us all to take that in. If you are ready to get back in the passion producing game with me, here are five ways to aid the transition.

(These thoughts playing around are accompanied by some visuals provided by my dear friend Bradley Atkinson. He is in LA creating like crazy. All art work credit goes out to him! Link to his work is at caboose of the post.)

1. Fuel Yourself With Inspiration

So these cold winter months have led you to burrow in your warm apartment scrolling through your phone a little more often than you'd like. Valid! It has been a brutal couple of months. As you are trying to gain the courage to greet the outside world again, surround yourself with inspiration. Play music that makes you think clearer or offers exciting lyric dissection and analyzing for you. Watch interviews and inspiring videos online from people in your field intending to reach folks just like you. Fill your Instagram and Twitter feed with other aspiring creatives. Hit the unfollow button on those that are putting you down and follow those that add more light to your day. Feed your brain with influence from others that may actually light a spark to get back into it.

2. Shape a Creative Space

We are all our most productive selves in different settings. And those settings can always be shifting. There are days that I thrive working for hours in a muted coffee shop. Other days, I could be amazed at the work I accomplished without stepping foot out of my apartment. Through trial and error you will find where your creative space lies. This also could mean shaping it to meet your needs. Try cleaning your whole apartment, let some natural light peek in, set up by a window and go to town. The warmer months will allow a little more opportunity to take your studio outside, my favorite! Keep in mind that time is so valuable, plan ahead your workspace to salvage some procrastination in the form of setting up the perfect space - something I am very prone to.

3. Check in on Fellow Creatives

Think you are alone in this whole living a creative life that seems to be lacking the "creative" part? Wrong. You have a larger circle around you than you think. Call up your friend across the country that always seems to inspire you with his artwork. (I'm looking at you, Bradley) Schedule a coffee date with some girls you shared college classes with, or colleagues you've connected with through your day job. See what projects they are up to and share what you seem to be going through. Gathering more than one creative mind in one room is bound to lead to some inspiring conversation. Is there a project collaboration that could begin? How did they seem to get out of their slump this time last year? Allow some positivity to play. Artists need to be supporting artists in every capacity possible.

4. Shift Your Outlet

If you can't seem to muster up the motivation to get back into that creative outlet you have always had, no sweat. Take a little recess from it. Put that energy and focus into something completely new and different. Spend an afternoon actually cooking the recipes you've had pinned on your Pinterest board for years. (Talk through every step to the invisible camera in your kitchen like you are the Next Food Network Star for an added boost) Open up your laptop and write the first scene to that play you've always thought would be a riot. Throw it back to your favorite art project as a child and take it to the grown up level. Pardon me, while I go track down some googly eyes and a brown paper bag.

5. Proclaim Your Goals

Tell your journal, write it on your mirror, tell your partner, tell your mom, tell your best friend. Who do you trust to support you and help you stick to it? Establish some goals for yourself. By telling the person you trust that you are going to write five pages by Friday, there is no turning back. You see, we creatives hate it when we don't do something we said we would do. So set your goal, shout it out loud, and get going.

While you're on the whole shouting thing-- don't forget to tell yourself AND the world that you are an amazing creative spirit in this world. You bring light, beauty, thought and change to any day. You should be celebrated and your work should be celebrated as well.

The creative life definitely chose us and it is no simple or easy task. Be inspired by all of the awesome beauty that is surrounding us and c r e a t e. It is what you are meant to do. Perfection is not allowed in your vocabulary, be reminded and freed by that.

How do you seem to pull yourself out of a creative slump? Let's share. Let the inspiration flow freely amongst us. 

You can check out Dirty Dad Brad here. His work is insane and inspires you in ways you didn't think were possible. All the love in the world to you, Bradley! 

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