How to Survive (and Thrive) During a Creative Roadblock
Just the other day on Instagram I shared that I was creatively stuck. Burnt out and exhausted, I've been feeling like I have nothing left in my creative well. All my creative energy is stagnant. As someone who loves getting her hands dirty, literally and figuratively, it's so frustrating. Writing blog posts takes forever, I'm wearing the same outfits every day, and my hands are itching to start a new project.
Getting stuck in a creative roadblock is nothing new. It's actually pretty common for this time of year. So after years of finding myself stuck in a creative roadblock post-winter, I found that are a few things you can do to help you survive and even thrive during a creative roadblock.
Just get started.
"Get started" has got to be the number one piece of advice for 80% of your problems. The thing is, sometimes that's all you need. Instead of waiting for the perfect creative project to come to you, just get started on something. Peruse the aisles of Michael's and pick up a project. Just get started.
Return to an old project.
Surprisingly one of the best ways to get out of a creative rut is to go back to an abandoned project. I am somewhat ashamed to admit there are a bunch of half-finished projects lying around my house.
Whenever I'm feeling stuck, picking up an old project always helps. There's no pressure of coming up with an idea. There's no pressure to finish because, hey, it was collecting dust just a few minutes ago! Getting going on a project, no matter what it is can help you survive and get out of that rut.
Adjust your schedule.
I'm big on reflecting because it's essential as a teacher and, really, it's just a good thing to do. Most times when I reflect on why I'm experiencing a creative roadblock, I find a lot of it has to do with my schedule.
A creature of habit and organization, I tend to do the same things, at the same time, forever and ever. It's difficult to get inspired when you see and do the same things every day. So you make an adjustment to your schedule like add a new workout class or wake up a little bit earlier. Recently I started going outside in the early evening to water my tiny little garden. Just standing in silence makes all sorts of new ideas pop up.
Explore what's already out there.
One of the number one reasons I was an art history major in college was because I loved being surrounded by other people's creativity. It's amazing what people can create from paint, cloth, mud, and more.
If you're feeling a total lack of creative energy, go seek it out. Visit an art gallery, museum, or even a local mural. Need to get your writing back on track? Head over to the local library which is chock full of inspiration. Or you could go see a play or put on your favorite record. Don't dwell on your lack of creativity; instead celebrate all the creativity already in the world!
Give yourself some grace.
Sometimes no matter how hard you try or how much you want it, you're gonna stay stuck. Life gets in the way and your time and energy and creativity gets diverted elsewhere. That's when you have to give yourself some grace. Don't force yourself to make things happen.
Remember, a creative roadblock is just a temporary state. We're all affected by things like weather, work, and stress. Eventually that creative energy will come rushing back and it'll be time to MAKE ALL THE THINGS.
I'm curious: have you ever experienced a creative roadblock?