5 Ways To Deal With A Creative Funk

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Are you feeling uninspired? Bored? Fresh out of ideas, all the time? Anxious about everything you create, and then depressed about the outcome?

Congrats, you’ve caught a Creative Funk. Good news though - it’s curable!

If you’re a creative like me, then you definitely know how crappy it can feel to be in a Creative Funk (or a funk of any kind). Feeling like your brain isn’t working the way you usually depend on it to is pretty unnerving, especially when you depend on your creativity for a livelihood.

I’ve put together a few of my favorite tips and tricks to help get you out of that spiral of self doubt, insecurity, and just plain old depression that the mysterious and frustrating Creative Funk brings along for the ride. Here’s what’s worked best for me:

1. Experiment with Different Mediums

This one has proven to be really helpful for me. As a photographer, I tend to stick to pretty close to my computer when it comes to being artistic. For months I had been focused on refining and perfecting my editing skills, but found myself constantly unhappy with the results. One day while in the middle of one of these editing dilemmas, I decided to shut my computer, pick up a sketchpad and some markers, and draw. I spent an entire weekend focused on a medium that, while comfortable with it (I was a drawing and painting major before switching to photography), was a needed change of pace. Experimenting with different colors, styles, etc., gave me a fresh set of eyes to look at my photography with, and gave my creativity the boost it didn’t know it needed.

2. Find New Surroundings

I am NOT good at going outside of my comfort zones. There’s nothing I love more than staying in, pouring a glass of Sauv Blanc (New Zealand ONLY), and watching a show I’ve already seen 40 times over. But does this fuel my creativity? No, not at all. There’s nothing new about this stimuli, so why would my brain react in a new way to something it’s been exposed to multiple times before?

Whenever I start to feel a little TOO comfortable in my routine, I make a point to switch it up. Going on a walk in an unfamiliar neighborhood, finding a new coffee shop to work in, going to an art show or a museum - the possibilities for this one are endless. The more new things you surround yourself with, the more opportunities you give your brain to blossom with fresh creativity and new ideas.

3. Don’t Stop Creating, Even If It Sucks

This one is one of the most important tips on this list, but also the one I have the most trouble following.

Think of your brain like any other muscle in your body. You rely on it to perform certain tasks, and after performing the same task over and over, it gets exhausted. If this were a muscle in your leg, would you keep performing that same task at the same intensity that caused the exhaustion? Of course you wouldn’t! You’d start with smaller exercises, slowly building up the strength again until you felt confident and strong enough to get back into your usual groove - give your brain that same courtesy.

My favorite way to go about this exercise is to look online or through my old notes from my college photography classes and find assignments to do. They can be as simple or complicated as you want, but the only goal is to create. You never know what fresh ideas will spark while you’re outside of your creative comfort zone!

4. Find A Workshop or Take A Class

Creative workshops and classes are never in short supply, especially with social media as a tool to connect so many creatives that would otherwise never know about each other. Not only will they help you meet new people in your area (or outside, depending on what kind of class/workshop you’re interested in!), but you never know what you’ll learn from just chatting with people.

My favorite way to find out about workshops is through Instagram (my feed is mainly photography workshops, of course, but there is no shortage of workshops for any creative field you can think of), and finding classes through Facebook events has been successful for me as well!

Extra tip: If you get nervous meeting new people/are shy, bring a friend along!

5. Let Yourself Rest

The creative industry is non-stop. No matter what kind of creator you are, we’ve all felt that overwhelming pressure to constantly create and produce original and captivating content almost daily. Sometimes, this is no problem at all - your brain is full of ideas and your hands seem to glide across the page or keyboard. Other times, though, no matter how hard you try, you’re a blank slate.

And that’s OK.

We aren’t robots! If you need a few days off from doing anything creative, take those days off. Sometimes this is impossible to do because of looming deadlines, but even just an hour a day of zoning out and watching a dumb TV show, reading a good book, or playing a video game can help recharge a tired creative mind.

I hope these tips helped you! Let me know if you have any other tips that work for you in the comments!

Bailey & John // Snowy New York Engagement Session

Bailey and John were the winners of my recent giveaway on Instagram for an engagement or anniversary session in New York City, and once we connected over Instagram I KNEW that we were going to become friends. We spent weeks planning an epic shoot all over Manhattan, and when the day arrived we were completely surprised by SNOW!

Being a native San Diegan, I’ve never seen snow fall before, so seeing it fall for this first time in New York City while doing what I love with an amazing couple was something I’ll never forget. We started at the Top of the Rock, and while we were hoping to get an epic view of the city, the snow caused a white out since we were so high up! Bailey and John still rocked that part of the shoot, going out in the FREEEEZING cold snow to dance and cuddle while I snapped their photos (we only spent about 1 minute out there because it was so cold)!

Next, we went to Grand Central Station! We had a super specific photo in mind that we wanted to capture, and we did it! We spent some more time getting some dancing pictures and maneuvering through the crowds, and ended right around the time the station started to get packed with people.

I am so lucky to be able to capture such special moments with the most incredible couples in the most beautiful locations around the world. New York, I’ll be back so soon!

Sam & Chad // Cuddly In-Home Anniversary Session

I LOVEEE in home sessions. They’re so much fun, so much more intimate, and always let couples truly be themselves when I’m taking photos!

Sam and Chad were absolutely no exception to this! I’ve been friends with Sam for years, so when she contacted me and told me what kind of shoot she wanted, I was so excited. Once I arrived at their house, they had the cutest cheese plate out for us to take pictures with (and snack on!), a bottle of wine to share, and music playing!

The rest of the afternoon was a blast. Between dancing around their living room and getting a little tipsy from the wine, to getting cuddly in the bedroom, it couldn’t have gone better!

Sophia & Brady // Romantic Forest Wedding // Corvallis, OR

There’s nothing quite like the Pacific Northwest in the early fall. It’s a welcome change for me, being in San Diego where it gets HOTTER in the fall (I know, makes no sense), so when Sophia and Brady asked me to shoot their September wedding, I was ALL IN.

The morning of their wedding, Ben and I drove down to Oregon from Seattle (we got up preeeetty early), and we made it to Corvallis 2 hours ahead of schedule, so we did a little exploring! Once it was time to meet up with Sophia, we headed over to Vue, the incredible venue they chose, and took some detail photos before heading to the site of their first look, Fitton Green.

Fitton Green was out of a fairy tale. It was absolutely stunning, and I had found a huge, beautiful tree for them to do their first look at. (I definitely cried).

Once we wrapped up their first formals and family photos, we made our way back to Vue for the ceremony and reception! It was such an incredible group of people, and the entire day was filled with love for this amazing couple.

Sophia & Brady // Wild & Adventurous Desert Couples Session // Florence Sand Dunes, Florence, Oregon

I've known Sophia & Brady for a while now, (they found me through a hashtag!), and we have truly become good friends. On my trip up to the PNW this past June, they hosted me for a few nights and we had the BEST time hanging out, driving to amazing places, and eating tons of pretzels!

These photos were taken in Florence, Oregon, and we were SO excited to be able to do something super fun and creative like this! We dodged tons of dune buggies and dirt bikers, but we made it out alive ;)

Bee & Bryan // Intimate In-Home Session // Corvallis, Oregon

I've known Bee & Bryan for a while now (I met them through another one of my favorite couples, Sophia & Brady!), and when they told me they wanted to do an in home session in their adorable apartment in Corvallis, Oregon, I was sooo excited.

I always knew that these two were super stylish and had a feeling their apartment would be really cute, BUT I HAD NO IDEA IT'D BE THIS PERFECT. I seriously felt like I was walking into a magazine!

We spent an hour laughing, listening to Bryan play his guitar, looking through old records and playing with their adorable pup! 

Enjoy!

Rhys & Jayme // Gorgeous Surprise La Jolla Proposal

Meet Rhys and Jayme (and Rookie)!

When Rhys reached out to me and said that he wanted to surprise his long time girlfriend, Jayme, with a romantic surprise proposal, I just about jumped out of my chair and danced around with excitement; I LOVE PROPOSALS!

He had the entire thing planned: he and Jayme were going to walk along the beach, and I'd be snapping pictures from afar to capture one of the most special moments of their lives!

The entire evening went perfectly. Rhys and Jayme walked along the beach carrying some champagne and wine, and Rhys gave her a handwritten note for her to read. While she was reading, he got down on one knee, and... I'll let you see the rest for yourselves :)