(click here if you can’t view the video)
I’ve spent the past four months in a creative rut. How did I get out of it? Well, it began with getting out of my own way.
You see, whether you realize it or not there’s a natural ebb and flow to our creative cycle. Sometimes we’re completely inspired, and sometimes we’re just not. There are these natural ups and downs, kind of like a roller coaster ride.
And I’ve been finding myself in that really low point for the past few months. So I just wanted to speak into that because I know from experience that being in this state can be really scary at times.
Thoughts can cross your mind such as “Will I ever get my creativity back?” and it leads you to start fighting against it and trying to force yourself to create. But the more you fight for it and try to force it, the harder it is to get back into the flow again.
It’s like you’re hitting a wall, and no matter how hard you push, you just can’t create. (click to tweet)
But going through these ups and downs is a natural part of our creativity. As long as you’re aware of that, you’re going to be okay. So, if you’re a blogger and haven’t blogged for a while… there’s no need to apologize. If you’re a creator, and you’re in the space of not being able to create, there’s no need to beat yourself up for that.
It was when I finally let go of the fighting and was able to accept the space that I was in, that it finally started to turn around.
So it’s that fighting against it that really prevents you from getting back into the flow. And as soon as you can release that tension and give in to the flow, you start to move along again, which will eventually bring you back into a creative high.
But just because you realize you’re in this flow, it doesn’t mean you should sit back and do nothing when you’re in the low.
You want to let go of struggle, but you should also be gathering inspiration, surrounding yourself with what you really want to be doing, and taking the steps to get back into your flow. But none of this works if you don’t first remember to give in to the flow.
When I was finally able to let go and accept where I was at, I started to become more aware and open to all of the inspiration surrounding me.
With my recent experience, two things helped to propel me out of it, after letting go:
Accountability – As you may know, I’ve been going through an intensive training to become a life coach, and my mentor Kate said next month we’ll be taking a break to focus on marketing and she’ll be taking a look at our websites to give us feedback.
This put me in a bit of a panic, as I haven’t updated my site in so long, and there’s so much I’ve learned about marketing in the last few years that I haven’t implemented yet. So I got really inspired and motivated to start working on it again to bring it up to my own standards… so that when she does come to offer me feedback, it’s going to be something valuable for me to hear and grow from. (So expect a website update hopefully by the end of the month!)
Inspiration – During one of my random wanderings on the internet one day, I came across a creative exercise that was connected to what I had been thinking about. And it just hit me the right way and really inspired me. If I hadn’t given into my creative flow and surrounded myself with what I wanted to be doing, I may not have come across this inspiration.
This magical combination of accountability and inspiration really helped to propel me into a high creative state. Now ideas are coming from every which way and my only problem is deciding which idea to pursue first!
So if you find yourself in that creative low, my suggestion to you is to first become aware of your own creative cycle and stop pushing. Let yourself go with the flow. Then, seek out some inspiration and accountability. Perhaps get together with a friend, join a community, take an e-course, or something similar that’s going to give you the accountability and inspiration.
Now, I’d love to hear from you: Is there anything that you have found that helped bring you out of a creative slump in the past? Leave a comment below and let’s chat about it!
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Elizabeth Beveridge says
I try to find a course that inspires me. I have found some wonderful courses that are open access “for life”. I usually do the course when I first get it, but can always refer back to project videos etc. (these are online courses), and they help me get myself in the frame of mind to create again.
Gracias Kristal! cada palabra tuya es como una suave caricia para mis momentos de anti-inspiración! -como yo los llamo a esos momentos de cri-cri (grillo)- Te sigo!
Thanks so much ristal! every word you said it`s like a gentle caress for anti-inspiration moments (so I call those moments of cri-cri (cricket)… I still follow you!
Cristỉña Gàbriella says
Big hugs, dear Crystal! It’s so nice the way you share your thoughts with us!
That is exactly how i got out of mine! Taking your class and gathering inspiration!Thank you!
What brings me out of a creative slump is when I look at some of the things others do. I’ve been looking at France Papillon’s journaling videos, and that has inspired me a lot. I also take out an old stamp I haven’t used forever, and that sometimes jump starts my creativity. Cleaning my stamp table, looking at ephemera I haven’t used, or even just some background papers helps a great deal.
I’m glad you found your creative flow once again.
Teresa Arsenault says
Thank you for this word of wisdom. You have really hit it on the head about the natural ebb and flow of creativity. Maybe now I can stop hitting myself on the head whenever I am in a slump. :D
Kristal you are Awesome.. but I really feel silly when you think you are only helping women haha.. Your work is incredible .. yet since you’re learning these new marketing tools.. Include men LOL! <3 Marty
P.S. ur right about the slump.. alway's hits me from january to april lol.. but it alway's comes back!!!
Kristal Norton says
Haha I hear ya Marty! I just realize that 99% of my audience is women, so it’s easier to say women than “people”… just feels more personal to me. But men are totally welcome in the group! :)
Marsha Houston says
Kristol, I’ve been in almost exactly the same place. My creativity has shut down. Things I used to enjiy, now seem to bore me. I feel very uninspired and incapable of creating anything worthwhile. In fact, I became so frustrated, I packed up every thung and put it away in the garage. At this point, I feel like I can’t even create a decent backgriund fir an art journaling page My daughter recently bought a horse. I got all excted about creating a book for her. It was to have pictures, quotes, artwork, etc all about the horse. I collected some pics, a zillion quotes, drawings, When it came time to put it all together, I was stopped dead in my tracks. I hated every layout I tried. Nothing worked. This morning I packed it all up and added it to the other unfinished work on the garage. I just could not proceed.
Eveline Mangin Mauws says
I really enjoy your blog Kristal. I love to write, and have recently started a blog on my web site – http://www.photosbyeveline.weebly.com. It’s interesting that you bring up this topic at this time of the year. I was actually going to address it in my blog next week! I wonder, is it the season? Do we go inwards, looking for inspiration during this time, only to have our creativity emerge in spring? It’s an intriguing question.Besides being a photographer, I like to make art journals, books, and art. What do your readers think? Is winter a time for to look for new inspiration?
I just found your blog today and I’ve recently recovering my creativity after a slump. Thank you so much for addressing this and letting us know we’re not alone when this happens. :)