Ditch A Creative Funk
The time when fall starts to turn colder without the satisfaction of winter snow is an awkward time where it’s easy to get stuck in a creative rut or funk. If this is you, take heart: everyone creative who ever lived has been there. Here are five quick ways to pull yourself out of that uncreative feeling:
Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
Take a moment and consider: is it possible you and your creativity have felt out of sorts lately because your brain hasn’t been properly balanced with the rest of your body? You may have run yourself a wee bit ragged.
Make sure you are sleeping between 7 and 8 hours each night—recent studies have shown that consistently missing sleep, even if it’s only a little bit, will impede your brain’s ability to function within less than a week.
It’s all very well if you have to outline an idea, sketch an image, or write a passage that comes to you in the middle of the night—that is fine, and the stuff of which anecdotes for interviews are made. Be ready for it with something to write or draw your idea, but don’t make a habit of sitting up late at night waiting for inspiration to hit. If the muse wants to, he or she will not hesitate to hit you squarely in the face with an idea at an inconvenient time.
But it takes more than just sleep to keep a healthy body, mind, and muse (I know, if only). Try to drink as much water and eat as balanced a diet as you can on your current budget—your brain needs nourishing food to let the creativity flow.
Take a Walk
It’s more than just Passion Pit lyrics. Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the most broadly creative people who ever lived, and he spent a lot of time walking in the Italian hills drawing studies of small, flowering plants.
No matter where you live, spend some time out in the fresh air, creating freely based on what you can see out there. Write about interaction you see between animals, or free-write, or sketch something that catches your eye. Absorb aromas and textures; fix the place in your mind. Take photographs, or just relax and enjoy the riches of nature that surround you.
Find a Creation Meme
One of the greatest resources the internet has created is the writing or drawing meme, depending on what you do. Not a meme like the popular humorous memes involving cats and Willy Wonka—it’s more like a writing exercise. Search “writing meme” or “drawing meme” to find some good ones.
If you don’t have your own original characters, you can use any number of characters the meme/exercise calls for by picking your favorite film or television characters. You will be asked to number the characters in question. Then you’ll be instructed, by numbers, to write or draw them in a given situation.
Examples include putting your chosen characters in Wal-mart (“Six and three are trying the free samples” or “seven, one, and four are testing the camping supplies while two and eight have kidnapped five and nine for a shopping cart race”), on a reality TV show, or through a series of normal events made interesting by character juxtaposition.
Thinking about what those characters would honestly do (no matter what you personally do creatively) will force you to think creatively.
Admire and Appreciate
There’s a reason young art students sit and copy museum paintings as part of their curriculum. Learning how others in your field practice their craft will help you to improve yours and give you new ideas.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve read the classics, start there (or viewed the classics, for artists and photographers).
If you feel like you need to look at something completely different, sites like deviantart.com and wattpad.com carry the art and writings of creative people from all over the world for your appreciative pleasure. Maybe Skyim paintings, original zombie fiction, or Harry Potter fan art pastels can give your brain the spark it needs to kick the funk.
And Now For Something Completely Different
So you’re a painter? That’s cool. Now put down that palette and brushes and pick up some clay. You specialize in post-apocalyptic fiction? That’s excellent—now write something like a Regency romance.
Even if it means you have no clue what you’re doing, messing around with another medium will force you out of your comfort zone, which is where all the new ideas are. Just experiment and have fun, and you may end up discovering your next big idea.
Whether you are a first-rate graphic artist at a website design and development company or the columnist at your local newspaper, we all get into creative ruts, and it’s depressing. But with a little work, anyone get ditch the rut for a new season of creativity!
About the Author
Veronica Mason uses her passion for education to write articles and help students find the best learning experience. She enjoys learning about innovations in education, particularly online classes. Veronica has recently done work for Innovation Simple.