Find some time to tend to your creative soul.
When I find myself in a creative funk—that uncomfortable feeling that slowly drains my motivation and my desire to create, coupled with the sensation of time grinding on like a lumbering freight train—I resist it with my first impulse: despair. Not this again. It’s an imperfect response. So in my next impulse, I want to fight it. But I find I don’t have any strength.
As I turn over the sudden creative mood swing that takes me from wildly productive to sluggish and unmotivated, I’m perplexed and troubled. Until I finally recognize it for what it is.
It’s a creative funk, and to ignore it is to imperil my creative stamina. It comes on the way sniffles lead to a full-blown cold. It’s my note to self: Time Out. Tend to your creative soul.
Do you ever need a creative time out? Try the prescription that works for me:
- Accept where you are. Don’t fight it. Give yourself permission to be right where you are, which is right where you belong now, and resist the little voices in your head murmuring, You should be doing more or You slacker, get to work on your project now.
- Find your comfort space, and occupy it. Allow yourself to stay here as long as you need to. You’ll know when it’s time to leave.
- Resistance is contra-indicated, if not futile. You can never will things to change; you can only accept things, and change your approach to them. When you reframe the negative picture you have of downtime to being restorative, you are embracing your true nature. It’s fine to give yourself slack for being human, and therefore fallible.
- Surround yourself with the tools of your craft that inspire you . . . the books on polishing your creative skills that you never have time to read, or the inspirational clips you’ve been accumulating, or your journal and favorite pen. Get comfy with them around you, your little darlings that are just waiting to provide you comfort. Let them.
- Push away the nagging thoughts, the ones saying, You’ll never finish your novel while you’re reading about writing, or You’d better finish that painting instead of dreaming of the next one. Exhale deeply as you push them out of your mind and find some space for renewal.
- Spend as much time here as you can, as you want, as you need. Believe that this is sustenance for your creative spirit, which needs as much nurturing as any tender young sprout in a spring garden.
Creative funks aren’t all bad. They’re just another part of the process. At the very least, they’re meant for us to preserve our most valuable resource: our creativity.
And they’re certainly not unproductive. My most recent one inspired this article as I worked my way through it. I’ve experienced plenty of creative lulls where I’ve emerged even more inspired. Haven’t you?
Soon enough, you’ll back. As I put the finishing edits to this article, I realize I’m already emerging. But if I don’t, I’ve got some inspiring reading to do, and I’m accepting of either path. Being creative is just like taking one long road trip . . . always on the journey, looking out the window, deciding where to stop. I hope you find my prescription to be as helpful to you as it was restorative for me. ♣
What works for you when you find yourself in a creative funk?
Want to learn more about my upcoming novel?
For more on the art of writing, look HERE.
For more posts on finessing one’s creativity, look HERE. The Daily Post’s prompt unearthed many reactions to being cut off, as we all find ourselves sometimes, when we’re unable to access our creativity. But it’s always still there. As author Brenda Ueland noted HERE, “you are an inexhaustible fountain of ideas.”