12 Ways to Overcome a Creative Slump

12 Ways to Overcome a Creative Slump

Creative slumps are inevitable. In the digital age we live in, it can be all too easy to treat our minds as if they are machines that can endlessly produce without rest. However, we are not machines and nothing will remind us of this fact quicker than hitting a creative brick wall.

If you’re having trouble creating or feel like all of your inspiration has run dry, these 12 suggestions may help you recharge your creative batteries and tap in to your inner imagination.

1. Free Write

Set aside some time with a pen and paper and just write whatever comes to your mind. It can be anything at all. The action of writing will start getting your mind flowing and generate ideas. You may very well end up with a page full of nonsense, but you may also find the key to your inspiration. Don’t give up!

2. Doodle

painting, abstract, creative

Or play with Play-doh, or wood carve, or paint. Doing something fun and creative with your hands will not only enable you to enjoy yourself while doing it, but will also get creative juices flowing without you being terribly invested in the outcome. With the fear of failure out of the way, the child-like creativity you are expressing can open the door to solving your creative problem.

3. Take a Walk

Walking in nature has a calm and soothing effect on the mind and helps the body to relax. Leaving your work for a time to take a walk and spend time in nature can help revitalize you and allow you to return to your project again with fresh, new eyes.

4. Travel

Travel is a great go-to method when you need to do some serious creative un-clogging. Traveling doesn’t have to mean going on a very expensive trip to somewhere exotic. Throw a backpack in your car and take a weekend road trip to see a friend or family member in a nearby city. Simply being out of your own space and routine will free your mind up from its well-worn grooves and help new thoughts unfold.

map, travel, creative, coffee

5. Make Idea Lists

Rack your brains for solutions to your problems, even if they are completely illogical and make no sense. Think of things until it hurts to think anymore. You will be amazed at how many ideas you actually have buried in your brain that your waking, rational mind may shut down because of the barriers we place on ourselves and our conscious thoughts.

6. Watch Performing Art

Getting enmeshed in the story of a good film or play can allow you to be moved by empathy and ideas you may not have previously entertained. This can pave the way towards new approaches to overcoming your creative barrier.

7. Talk to People. About Anything

Stepping in to someone else’s shoes for a time and seeing the world from their eyes can be a marvelous source of inspiration for the creative. Everyone has a nuanced and fascinating story living inside of them. Be willing to listen and your world may change.

walking, sunset

8. Read

Books are one of the greatest gifts mankind has given himself. Whole new worlds and ideas, theories and stories in quantities so vast we couldn’t consume them in a dozen life times are readily available to us. It’s easy to take books for granted, but the staggering wealth of human thought available in the form of literature, history, philosophy, and hundreds of other disciples is staggering. Take advantage of this gift and read, read, read.

9. Meditate

Release yourself from judgement. Self-judgement can build huge walls that inhibit our own success. Learning to meditate, to slow down and become self-aware, helps us to recognize and release the self-judgment and inner critic that so cripples us at times.

10. Listen to Lectures

Harvard and Yale now offer a selection of classes and lectures for free. Yes, you can get an Ivy League education while eating Oreos in your boxer shorts. It’s another advantage to the times we live in. It has never been easier to gain access to world-class teaching in dozens of disciplines. Open your browser and fill up your think tank.

11. Do Chores  

Mindless, repetitive tasks can allow your subconscious to come alive and start showering you with ideas. Not to mention you’ll have folded laundry and a clean house!

12. Leave it Alone

All of Art is inspired by the living of life. We must first be alive before we can create, and sometimes the act of living in all its mundane drudgery is all we need to kick-start our idea machine. You may walk away from a project for a time to have the answer to your creative dilemma hit you in the middle of traffic or in line at the grocery store on a typical Thursday. Allow yourself to live freely, but with eyes wide open.

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