Spoiler: I'm not referring to Pinterest.
Every so often I get in a funk. Stuck. Frustrated because I can't access anything creative within myself. My reserve feels empty and dry. I get mad because don't see things in the way I would if life was "perfect" (all my ducks in a row, so to speak). I get anxious and quietly take out my irritation on the world around me. In these times I just want to go into hibernation. It can be downright painful to have something to express but no means to express it.
Because I'm sure I'm not the only one who goes through these creative lows, I decided to give you my list. My How to Get Out of a Creative Funk list. Before you even read the list I'll tell you that the common denominator in all of this is that you have to allow yourself to accept inspiration. Your mind has to have room to receive it. You have to be open to inspiration or it could bite you on the nose and you would never know it.
Download all the crap. My friend, Stacy, and I kept sharing with each other that at times we felt overwhelmed by [insert your stuff here] almost to the point of paralysis. We would become stagnant for a time because of that feeling of being completely overwhelmed. It seemed ridiculous that we were both experiencing this yet neither could move past it. A couple of years ago I did this challenge and recently I thought it would be a good idea to go through the steps again. But something amazing happened: the minute I was done with the "downloading" section the ideas were flowing faster than I could write them down. Downloading is sort of like a reverse brainstorming. Instead of thinking of ideas you are getting rid of everything weighing on you so the ideas will come to you. The basic start up is to get a piece of paper, notebook, whatever and start writing down anything and everything that comes to mind. It could be stuff on your to do list, things that are worrying you, impending obligations, stresses, happy things, exciting or anxiety-laced things, etc. ANYTHING on your mind goes on that paper in front of you. Don't stop writing until it is all on the paper. Dig deep for that stuff you don't want to access or think about (yeah, even that crap). Boom. You're welcome.
|shot with film in Florida|
Do Something. Anything. You have to put one foot in front of the other. Force. yourself. to. do. one. thing. It could be the smallest thing like opening a blank page to start a blog post, putting on your running shoes and go walk to start out, picking up your camera and pointing it at something, cleaning only one spot instead of thinking you have to tackle the entire house. Doing nothing only leaves you where you are. Paralyzed and overwhelmed. If you change nothing, nothing will change.
Music (or whatever floats your boat). Oh, sweet music. Music is escapism for me. Use it to help you get out of your own head. Stop being so serious. Dance. Sing. Chill the heck out and relax = Chillax.
Meditate. If only for 5 minutes, just close your eyes and visualize what you want to work on or create or do. Imagine the best possible scenario. If the bad stuff creeps in you have to morph it into something good. You may not know it but your mind has the power to do that. Your mind is pretty amazing. You're mind is the boss. Keep practicing.
Speaking of your mind being the boss,
Perspective + Gratitude. This is a game changer my friends. Worried about what you don't have? Count the things you do. // Let someone under your skin and they ruffled your feathers? Think about someone on the opposite end of your spectrum who has no one. // Money problems or ruled by your "stuff"? Simplifying your life might be what the doctor ordered and may liberate you. I'm going to tell you straight up, 99% of our problems are FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS (my kids will tell you that is one of my favorite things to say). We have food, clothes, houses, hospitals, cars, family. Our neighbors and family aren't dying in beds next to us of a disease for which there is no treatment. We are allowed to go to school, church, and concerts. We aren't persecuted for showing our faces or legs. Perspective + Gratitude all day long. Stepping down from my soapbox now.
The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. This book literally changed my way of thinking, ergo, my life. I initially checked this book out from the library but I loved it so much I asked for it for my birthday. It is super short and to the point. Only 165 pages. I reread it every so often, especially when I feel stuck. It is all about calling procrastination, hesitation, and excuses what they really are: the damn devil (AKA resistance) and how to break through and move past it. Most of the time we are our own problem; our own worst enemy; in our own way. Steven Pressfield tells you with blunt honesty how to fix that. Like a boss.
Change of Scenery. My favorite. If you are inside get outside. If possible, get to the beach or mountains. Get into nature, be quiet, and listen. If you live in a small town then escape to the big city. Watch a sunrise. Take a bath. Be alone somewhere you love. I know it is not possible for everyone, but if you can ever take a solo trip (even overnight), DO IT! Last year I had to drive about 6 hours north (to a farming town called Lodi, CA) to attend a family funeral. My kids were in school so my family stayed behind. I met my parents at the funeral but they were in their trailer touring the US and there was no room for me. I stayed in a cute little KOA Kabin. It felt like a luxury vacation even though it was only one night and my head became so clear. I've never done so much writing in my life! When I returned from that time away I told Joe that I need to do that once a year (twice would be ideal). I don't have family that lives near me so the solo trips could be hard to come by but I think it is a necessity.
|shot with film in Satellite Beach, Florida|
Get Off the Internet. I know we live online. I understand we are addicted to our devices (they should be called "'vices" for short) but for the love of all things chocolate, GET OFFLINE. Stop comparing, snooping, stalking, and pinning. Nothing makes you feel like a bigger loser than being in a bad place and seeing everyone else doing something awesome or seeing your self-proclaimed nemesis succeeding. I'll give you another hint: stop following people who you feel competitive with. It is so stupid that we watch those people. I'll admit that 100% of the time I concoct the competition in my own little head but whenever someone is too negative or I feel the pang of jealousy or annoyance at someone's IG or blog post, I unfollow them. "It's not you, it's me"...but for real! It's okay not to follow everyone you've ever met. Plus, I don't need my IG or Bloglovin feed to be 600 deep. You feel me? Ain't no one got time for that.
Hopefully something above clicks for you. If you have something that works and you don't mind sharing in the comments below, I would appreciate it. I'm always looking for new tools to cope with creative blocks.
Now, go have a rad weekend!!
. peace .