5 Ways to Pull Yourself Out of a Creative Rut

Have you ever experienced a creative rut? You know, that dark time when it seems like nothing you attempt to create materializes to much? Writer's block shows up like an uninvited guest and takes the spare room, kitchen, dining room, and before you know it, the whole house? While that may seem like an extreme metaphor, I believe you get my point. I think at some point or another, all of us creatives have fallen prey to the dreaded creative rut.

Many factors may cause the uninspired feeling we experience during a creative rut. Sometimes it can be onset by lifestyle changes. Other times it can be triggered by traumatic events occurring in our personal lives. And since I've recently been working diligently to pull myself out of one, I decided I would share with you guys a few ways I've done (and still doing) so.

Step Away from the Computer. Go get some fresh air. Go analog and just write with pen and paper. Doodle. Do whatever you have to do to put some space between yourself and your computer if you're burned out from working on creative projects at the moment. Many times we have to come back to the computer with fresh eyes after we've gotten a break from the usual.

Explore. While you're taking a break from your computer, your Chromebook or whatever your main squeeze may be, now is the perfect time to explore some uncharted territory. Go to the park and take a jog around the neighborhood. Take the scenic route to and from your usual daily path. Try a new restaurant or try a different dish from your favorite dive bar. Go take photos of the murals downtown. Go get some new experiences up under your belt. It will give you a fresh perspective. Sometimes our creativity can grow a bit stale if we're stuck in the habit of doing the same things in the same way all the time. And if you can't leave the house, watch a foreign film. Get familiar with a genre of music you don't normally listen to. Anything to shake things up a bit.

Try a new medium. Try painting if you usually write poetry. Write poetry if you usually write short stories. Create something pretty with your hands or words with whatever new medium you decide to try. And remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. It just has to be an enjoying experience for you. Oftentimes creating something in a new way excites us and may even inspire us to keep putting our creative juices to use if we've given up.

Enjoy time with a friend. Speaking of enjoying yourself, why not schedule some time hanging with a friend? Binge a new tv show with your bestie in PJs for a girl's night in. Have lunch at a new restaurant. Try a new recipe together. Just sit and share a few candid convos about current affairs or what's going on in pop culture. Swap books. And if your best friend happens to be across the country or in an entirely different country altogether, attend a social event. Now may be a good time to try that new Zumba class or check out that Friday Night poetry situation on the other side of town solo. Finding a way to connect with others (even if you're an introvert like me) can really help you bounce back from those isolated feelings that usually surface when you're experiencing a creative rut.

Collaborate with like minds. Maybe you're blessed with creative friends. If so, why not collaborate on creative projects with them? Know a creative in your niche that you admire and would like to pitch ideas to? A few ideas here and there may be the start of a beautiful creative project in the works for you two! Having another creative mind may help you flesh out old ideas and inspire you to create so many new ones!

A creative rut can happen to any of us at any time. Life happens, and most often the art we create (or struggle to create) suffers. However, I do believe, that after assessing our personal issues and putting ourselves in a different space mentally, we can work on getting back to being our creative best. Applying a few of these simple but effective techniques could help you bounce back from your creative rut better than ever!

How do you recover from a creative rut?
Let's chat in the comments!

photo credit: arnel hasanovic
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