We all have hours, days, weeks when we’re “just not feelin’ it”. It’s a chore to write, paint, quilt, crochet, photograph, [insert your favorite creative activity]. Sometimes so much of a chore that we just don’t do anything. And by “we” I’m talking about “me.” (I’m just assuming a few of you have this happen to you, too.)
Here are a few things that I do.
Ideas for when you’re not feeling creative
Let it stink. I think we all want to create perfection. Well we just need to get over ourselves, because no one, not Mozart, not Steven King, just sits and creates perfect work. No doubt they didn’t think their work was/is perfect. Which leads me to the next idea of ‘just showing up.’
Just show up. Do the work, every. single. day. Can’t do your thing every day because of kids or a job? Then set aside a few hours each week. You make appointments to go the doctor. Make an appointment with yourself. Put it on your calendar. You ARE as important as that doctor appointment, so don’t put yourself last and tell yourself “oh, I’ll just do it tomorrow”. You won’t. Tomorrow will become next week will become next year. So, just show up.
In a super funk? Then let your goal be to create the worst ever. The worst poem. The worst photograph. The worst painting. The worst afghan. (Ok, it can be something smaller like the worst pot holder.) What this does it helps fulfill “just showing up”.
Switch gears. When I’m stuck, either writing or photographing, I’ll do the other. Or, if I’m stuck on what to write next for the project I’m working on, I’ll send off an email. I’m still writing, just switching gears a bit. Or I’ll edit a photograph. I’m still showing up. Still being creative. But giving my brain a break. (Another idea here is to read, either within your field of interest or not. Ideas and motivation can come from anywhere. I also love movies, and often get visual ideas from them.)
Be kind to yourself. If you’d rather get a tooth pulled than create something, anything, today, a day or two break is ok. Even a week. But then it’s time to show up again.
Talk to another creative friend. I guarantee your creative friends have “been there done that” when it comes to hitting that wall. Let them empathize with you. The struggle is real. And they might have a good idea to help you past this.
I personally have done all these. In fact, writing this blog post is me switching gears. I was writing up an interview for the mental illness project I’m working on, feeling a bit stuck on how to word something. So I decided to blog about the ways I try to become unstuck.
How does this translate to what you’re working on?
Maybe you’re struggling with the quilt you’re putting together. Something just isn’t quite right. Is there a different quilt project, maybe something smaller, you can start on? Or maybe read a quilting book or magazine, get inspired by someone else?
Do these work all the time?
For myself, I’d say “to varying degrees yes”. Although I have to watch that “be kind to yourself” one. It can easily slip into weeks at a time. ;) For me, the main idea is to keep moving forward. Some steps are small. Some are large. But it’s still forward.
What do you do when you’re not feeling creative or motivated? Comment below.