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I don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced the rut. You know those moments when you feel like you can’t come up with any good ideas? The juice feels dried up, and sometimes it’s there’s a despair that starts a downward doubt spiral. I get it. Many times I’ve felt the same thing. My fiance’ is […]

5 Tips to Get out of a Creative Rut

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Michelle Leman  for Pexels

I don’t know anyone who hasn’t experienced the rut. You know those moments when you feel like you can’t come up with any good ideas? The juice feels dried up, and sometimes it’s there’s a despair that starts a downward doubt spiral. I get it. Many times I’ve felt the same thing.
My fiance’ is a songwriter and producer, and his entire job relies on him coming up with dope ideas. The pressure can be daunting, and that’s why I decided to share with you a few tactics to overcome the funk. Use as many of these as you need to and see what works.

Dive into Fiction

I’m one of those people who never really reads much fiction. I probably read one fiction book a year, and it’s because whenever I have time to read, I always feel as if I should be feeding myself professionally or personally. Every book has to do with business or self-improvement and even though I love to read, it’s usually from the same genre.
One time I was in a deep creative funk, and my friend gave me a book called “The Lovely Bones” I was super skeptical, and feeling like this book might not be my style, but I read it anyway. About three chapters in I was bubbling with excitement, ready to write a movie! I felt energetic and ready to tell some kind of story or ANY story. The point is, I felt creative. I think it works because it allows me to take the focus off of myself and my work and dive into someone else’s reality to escape. That perspective keeps you objective and usually starts to spark ideas. The same thing happens when reading biographies and autobiographies of people who inspire you. Inspiration gives creativity the green light.

Social Media Hiatus

About a year ago, I read an article about how our brain isn’t designed to take in as much information as we do every day. I didn’t’ think much about it until I later went to an NBA game. The number of advertisements that were swirling around every square inch of that place really gave me anxiety. Our everyday lives aren’t much different. We are advertised to every second we spend online. I started to feel like instead of being just a person who uses social media, I need to be a person who utilizes social media, and that meant being intentional with the time I spend on it. I decided to reset and take some time away from social media to gain a clear perspective on how it affected my life. The surprising part of this hiatus is the amount of creativity that came to me about a month into it. I believe it’s because I wasn’t constantly bombarded with other people’s ideas and thoughts and opinions and was able to feel a sense of excitement. I knew my concepts were coming from me, and it felt authentic and fun. Of course, if you’re a biz owner like most of my readers, you have the kind of social media where it has to be looked after daily. In that case, you can choose to hire a VA or do what I do: I set a specific amount of time every day to check social media. I don’t scroll much because I have to make good use of that hour or 30 mins that I have allocated for it. It has helped not only my creativity, but it allows me to never fall into that guilt trap of, “OMG, I’ve been scrolling all day.” My intention is always to create more than I consume, and taking breaks gives you that head start.

Learn something new

This is a tip that was given to me by one of my former coaches. She told me before I take another class or do any more training as a coach, I needed to take an Italian cooking class. She said it’s hard to learn, but it’s super fun. She made me promise not to show up to my next session until I had taken some kind of class. I was a little frustrated at the moment because I was dead set in on making progress, and this sounded counterproductive. But surprisingly, she was right. Think about it: When is the last time you signed up for a class on something you are unfamiliar with? You could try a class about pottery, painting, wine & cheese, or even improv class. There are so many different options to choose from. The key is to get out of your comfort zone. Walk into a class where you don’t know the teacher, you don’t know the students, and you know nothing about the subject you are about to learn. I can promise you; this is one of my secret tricks that I use to get my creative juices flowing. Putting yourself in an unfamiliar environment and a situation makes you vulnerable, and that dissolves your comfort zone instantly. It’s a recipe for hitting a new level of creativity within yourself. This is one of my favorite tips so if you do try it, and let me know if it worked.

Create for fun and not for work

This tip is one that I have to work hard at. It goes against my natural inclination. I’m one of those people where when I sit down to work; it’s time to get the job done. I probably have a list of things that I need to be completed with clear deadlines, so there is no time for play-play. However, there’s something magical that happens when you take the pressure off and just move into a space of creating something that you have no plans on ever showing anybody. Do something fun! Create something silly. Write a story or write a blog post you wouldn’t ever publish. The point is to take away the pressure of creating everything with a level of seriousness. If you work on something with no plans of turning it into a business or monetizing it, it’s easier to have fun with. I’m a firm believer in having hobbies to keep yourself creative. There’s a freedom that comes with not dealing with release dates, algorithms, or revenue when being creative. As kids, we create for fun. It’s essential to tap back into that.

Create Space

This is another one of my go-to tips when I feel like I’m in a creative rut. I’ll book a hotel room somewhere (in or out of town). I pack my laptop, my notebooks, my sketchbooks, my markers, my planners, and all of my favorite pens. (Yes I have an obsession) and I isolate myself alone with my ideas. It’s like a bae-cation for me. I take myself out of my typical environment to let my creative ideas breathe. I genuinely believe that our best ideas come through us and not from us. Most of the time, the amount of noise around us makes it hard to hear the messages that we’re being given to create. So taking yourself out of your typical environment can mean a colder climate if you live in L.A or even just a cute hotel in your city. You can also do an AirBnB or housesit for a friend. The point is to create a space where it’s just you, your pen, and God. It’s essential to keep building until you’ve developed a relationship with your creative genius. Creating a sort of sacred space is intentional, and it is ultimately an act of honoring your creative gifts.
P.S. If you decide to travel, make sure to stay safe and tell someone where you are going. Just sayin’.

“I can’t explain it to y’all, man. It comes out the air for me, I start mumbling. They say you put the right artist with the right track in the studio, leave the door cracked, and let God in.” -Jay-Z

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