Some mornings, I sit down at my computer to work on the latest blog for a client or a new chapter on my novel and I
You know that sleepy, foggy, crowded feeling when it seems like your overstuffed brain couldn’t squeeze out another creative idea if your life depended on it? When work REALLY starts to feel like work and the days seem like they are way too long and way too short at the same time? Yeah, that feeling.
Let me share some incredible news with you: we ALL get that feeling every now and then. All of us. Even the photographers you most admire sometimes just feel stuck. But here’s another exciting piece of news: you don’t have to just sit in it, waiting, hoping, praying for it to pass.
Creativity isn’t something we artists have to wait on. We can take control of our creative experience and shock it back into action when it grows sluggish. Here are seven ways to get inspired and conquer your creativity desert!
1. GET MOVING
When my body is stagnate for too long, my mind tends to join the party. When the idea of making one more word happen or thinking another original thought feels impossible, I head to the gym, sign up for a spin class, or go for a walk. Don’t forget that your mind is a muscle and benefits from the additional blood flow that comes from an elevated heart rate just as much as the rest of your muscles do.
2. WALK AWAY
If you’re stuck trying to write a blog post or tell your own story on an About Me page, sometimes it’s best to give the repeated running into the proverbial brick wall a rest. The challenge will still be the same after a hot shower, a trip to the mall, or a dinner with friends, but you’ll be different. You will have seen a little more, done a little more, and thought a little more. Your perspective will have shifted ever so slightly…and that tiny shift might be just enough to crack the previously uncrackable.
3. GET INSPIRED
When I’m working on my novel and I slam headfirst into writer’s block, I grab my favorite novel in a style similar to my own, and dive in. Swimming around in a successful, completed version of what I someday hope to finish triggers new ideas and motivates me to keep going. In the same way, whether a stubborn blog post or a tricky wedding gallery has you feeling defeated, take a break from your own work and give yourself space to admire great art similar to your own.
4. PUMP UP THE MUSIC
Working in silence makes me feel like a crazy person. Working with a TV on or with loud conversation happening around me makes me feel like the whole world is a crazy person. Music is the happy medium that kickstarts my flow. Choose music that matches the tone of the work you’re doing, and let it spur you on. Let the rhythm carry the words you write or editing choices you makes, and let its energy inspire your own.
5. RELEASE THE PRESSURE
When’s the last time you did something in your chosen career field just for fun? Not to make money. Not to please a client. Not to post on social media. Just for you. Shrug that pressure off your shoulders and get back to what you love most about your work by giving it the freedom to delight you and only you. Play around. Try something new. Give yourself the room to discover. Take a risk you’d never take if failure had a downside. Have fun.
6. GET A SECOND OPINION
Creative work can feel like a lonely experience sometimes…but it doesn’t have to be. Yes, your style is what makes your art unique, but others often see things we can’t — both good and bad. Call in a trusted friend or family member and let them tell you what they see. We only ever see our work through the same eyes that were there when the sausage was made. An outside opinion removes the process and gives you a way to see the final product for nothing more or less than exactly what it is and the effect it has on an observer.
I could fill a hundred blog posts with the number of times a good nap helped me overcome an impossible problem in my work. We are repeatedly told that #thehustle is key to success in a freelance creative field, and while pushing through tiredness can produce, it often scares away creativity. Rest is just as important to success as hard work, and learning to balance the two is what often opens the door to our best work.