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!