5 Ways To Be Creative When You Aren’t Feeling Inspired

Uncategorized Feb 23, 2022

How do you jumpstart your creativity when you’re just not feeling it?

We’ve all been there. Staring at a blank screen, frozen in inaction, or worse – spinning your wheels but getting nowhere. It’s like the Muse has abandoned us. It feels terrible, and if we’re not careful, those moments of paralysis and uncertainty can stretch out for way longer than we want.

Fortunately, we have a choice in the matter, and there are some tried-and-true ways to break out of those ruts and get back into that beautiful feeling of creative flow. Here are 5 of my favorite:

  1.  Take the pressure off.
    Often, we suffocate our creative impulses by putting way too much pressure on them. We have high expectations and high standards (which can be good) – but that can veer off into perfectionism. And every entrepreneur and artist knows that perfectionism is a death knell for creativity.

So take the pressure off. Step back from your project, take a deep breath, and remember that it’s not life or death. Invite in a sense of fun, play, light-heartedness. And if you’re feeling paralyzed by millions of options, just choose one. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Even a step in the wrong direction, creatively speaking, can be a useful one. It will either show you what you don’t want, and/or it will point you toward what you do want. And it will often shake things up enough to get you moving.

  1.  Remember your intention.

Especially in big-picture projects that require a lot of divergent thinking – managing a business, running a marketing campaign, writing a book – it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. We get caught up in the nitpicky details, caught up in other people’s opinions, bogged down by external forces.

When that happens, check in with your core. Tune out those other voices and tune into yourself. What’s your intention? Why are you doing this at all? Sometimes, our intention changes mid-project from To express myself to To impress people. Or To appear successful or To be liked more. And that’s often where we lose our creative momentum. Tapping into your true core intention – I want to share my experience with the world, I want to speak the truth – will give you direction and a newfound sense of creativity.

  1. Do it badly.
    “The quickest, easiest way to produce something beautiful and lasting is to risk making something horribly crappy,” writes Chris Baty, founder of National Novel Writing Month. "By giving yourself the gift of imperfection," he writes, "you tap into the realms of intuition and imagination that your hypercritical brain normally censors."

    That intuition and imagination is the playground of creativity. You need those things to create anything. Yet we often shut them off, for fear of being bad or looking stupid. Embrace it! Imagine the worst possible decision you could make. Then imagine the weirdest, the silliest, the strangest. This is another way of taking the pressure off and combatting perfectionism, and ti works. I’ve also heard creative writing professors assign this in their graduate workshops: “Write the worst possible story you can.” Often, its shakes off that internal critic just enough to produce some really great stories.

  2. Change your perspective.
    Our creative juices get stopped up when we stay too long in one perspective. Maybe that’s staring at a blank screen, staring at your colleagues’ faces on Zoom, or sitting at your desk all day. When we get the same lackluster input, we find ourselves producing the same lackluster output.

So shake it off. Go for a walk, take a shower, call a friend. Meditate – because creativity needs space to run free. Know that your project will be there when you return, and you’ll be better equipped to think freely and creatively.

Which leads me to a big one…

  1.  Move your body.

Our bodies need movement, because movement fires up all the different parts of our brain, from the limbic system to the prefrontal cortex to the hypothalamus. All systems of the brain and body are rewarded when we exercise.  

Scientists are studying this more and more, and verifying what entrepreneurs and artists like Steve Jobs, Beethoven, and Stephen King have long known: that exercise sparks creativity. It opens new channels of brainstorming, problem-solving, focus, and decision-making, boosting all those brain functions that are key to creative thinking. Even a few minutes helps – you don’t need a full hour at the gym (though that’s never a bad idea either)! Get up and move around, take a stroll around the block, do some jumping jacks or sun salutations in between meetings. You’ll be surprised at how much moving your body can churn up some brilliant new ideas. 

Remember, too, that creative droughts are a natural part of any career or project. Many artists and writers talk about the cyclical nature of creativity. Just as seasons pass, bringing us new life, then a multitude of fruit, then harvest, then a resting period, so does creativity. So don’t beat yourself up when it feels like the tap has run dry. It will flow again!

What about you? What are some ways you’ve gotten through the dry spots and back into the creative flow?

If you’d like more guidance and support in turning up the dials on your creativity, contact me! We can set up your next coaching session, where we’ll take big steps toward breaking through barriers and reaching new levels of creativity and success.

I’m rooting for you. Go out and shine.

Sonia

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