If you’re a creative, you’ll know that one of the most frustrating situations that can occur is when you get stuck in a rut and experience lost motivation. Perhaps you’re a writer suffering from writer’s block or a painter no longer seeing the inspiration in the everyday, or a videographer not knowing where to head next for the action. It’s easy to feel like you’re not good enough, original enough, or capable enough to compete with everyone else. But learning to play again is the key in these situations. And there are many interesting and inexpensive ways to get in touch with your inner child, get the creativity flowing again, and recover from lost motivation.
- Upcycle. Get yourself to a flea market, thrift store, or yard sale and purposely search for a fixer-upper. This is something that’s going to need a keen eye and creative know-how to revamp it. It could be a dress that you’ll tie-dye and transform into a crop top. It could be an ugly dining chair that you’ll sand down and paint. Set yourself the challenge of turning a has-been into an exciting new feature. If you’re all about the minimalist lifestyle, consider it a gift for a friend. This is a nice way to pour your love and personality into something unique and special. Seeing a project through to fruition will remind you of your skills and how wonderfully capable you are of achieving that which you set your mind to.
- Turn to plant life. We can take inspiration from many places, but if there’s one thing that never ceases to amaze us it’s the incredible resilience and strength of life. Sure, you can get this from looking at your kids if you have them, but for the rest of us, a plant can do the job. If you’ve got any space at all for a pot or two, start growing a vegetable or flower and watch it bloom. Combine different colors to create a dynamic visual medley then sit back and watch them thrive. Often we become stuck in a creativity rut when we’re caught up in our own head. Taking the focus off of yourself and onto supporting the life of another (yes, even if it is a plant) can actually allow you to gain perspective.
- Get in the kitchen. If your studio, camera, laptop, or whatever other tools you use to create are too daunting, turn to the kitchen. Take a whack at something delicious that you’ve always wanted to try making. Even if you don’t like cooking, think about what you’d like to eat and figure out how to make that happen. There’s something incredibly satisfying about watching a bunch of ingredients collectively transform into something beautiful. It’s a creative process and one that has a tasty ending. If it helps, get a friend over to help and make an afternoon of it.
- Celebrate nature. Get out into the wilderness wherever you can and practice simply absorbing. Absorb and interpret the sounds you hear, the texture underfoot and the sights that are aplenty. Feel the heat of the sun on your skin or the wind as it disturbs your hair, and think about how it all makes you feel. Do you feel free? Do you feel lonely? Do you feel excited? Do you feel hopeful? Do you feel anxious? Take note in this quiet time of what might be getting to you and in the way of your creative flow. Then, enjoy the serenity. This isn’t time for work. It’s time for relaxation.
- Rearrange your space and declutter. Our work environment massively influences our mood and productivity. Perhaps you’re in a rut because your environment isn’t conducive to letting the thoughts flow. Consider rearranging your office, living room, or wherever else is crying out for a refresh. And while you’re at it, start up a bag of donations and fill it with all those things that are offering little other than a surface for dust to collect on. Reward yourself at the end of this by doing some yoga in your newly-acquired zen-zone, or perhaps veg out and watch a movie. Work hard, but play harder. That’s the aim of the game.
- Get down with the kids. If play is what you’re in need of, consider taking a friend’s kids off his or her hands if you don’t have your own and spend the day learning from them. We grow up and we forget all about playing and letting our imagination run wild. Getting back in touch with this aspect of ourselves is incredibly important for creative practices. Take the kids to the park and join in with their games. Remember what it is to make playtime a priority.
- Be a chemist. It can be a lot of fun coming up with DIY replacements to everyday items. Try making your own face mask by mashing up some avocados. Or perhaps get a little fancier with a salt scrub or even a sunscreen. Experiment with different essential oils, which is a great way to lift spirits. Follow your nose and see what delights you.
Never beat yourself up if you’re stuck in a creativity rut. Know that you are there because your body is trying to tell you that something needs to change. Also, know that it will pass.
What do you do when you’re struggling to get in the flow? How do you recover lost motivation to create?
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