Pretty much immediately after I wrote the post, “3 Painstaking Truths in Life & How to Overcome Them”, where I touch on some of the most common advice we get in the blogging world and how it can often lead to perfection paralysis, I was hit with a full blown case of writer's block and a little graphic design rut. Experiencing a creative block is one of my least favorite things. It got me thinking: how did I even get into a creative rut? how can I stop feeling stuck creatively? And what even sparks imagination? But first…
What is the meaning of a creative rut?
A creative rut means you are feeling stuck or in a funk. Personally, I think it comes around when we get bored with the work we are doing OR are experiencing too much pressure to produce content.
Consider how you got into your creative funk in order to get out of a rut:
In order to figure out how to move forward (and ensure I don't end back somewhere), I think it's helpful to look back and evaluate how I got somewhere to begin with. I suggest you do the same.
My creative rut stemmed from the fact that I was trying to operate like a machine, when I'm a creative.
Meaning, I was forcing myself to plan content out weeks in advance simply to stick to a schedule. While the schedule originally started off as a well intentioned plan, it can also backfire. When I started this blog, although impulsively, I promised myself it wouldn't be like my other blogs, where I posted for a few weeks and then let it fizzle out.
How To Get Out Of A Creative Rut When Feeling Stuck
As creatives, I think it's super easy to fall into perfection paralysis. I think it's easy for our minds to go blank and veg out on Netflix all weekend (#guilty ? ), but how do we break that creative rut? How do we overcome that perfection paralysis?
1. Just do it.
Done is better than perfect. Sometimes the best way to get out of a creative rut is to push through and start doing whatever comes to mind – even if the world never sees it.
SPOILER ALERT: that's exactly how this post is getting written! I just started typing, with no idea where it would go. My fingers are just typing as random thoughts float through my mind. Sometimes just going through the motions without expecting anything to come out, can produce great results and get the creative juices flowing again!
Ask yourself what sparks imagination in you? What did you love to do as a kid that maybe you've forgotten about? When/where do your best ideas come to you naturally?
Do more of those things.
This is sort of the exact opposite as number 1, so do whichever feels right for you and if it doesn't work try out the other. But sometimes we just can't force the process and instead need to take a step back. My imagination is always sparked when I'm at the beach, sitting underneath a tree looking at the clouds, or even just making up random stories about people passing by.
3. Say YES.
Sort of in line with playing – get in the habit of saying “yes” to the random urges or invites coming your way.
If someone asks you to hang out, and you'd normally say no because you feel like you “have” to work – try saying yes. You'd be surprised how cutting yourself some slack can lead to feeling less stuck creatively.
Saying yes to whatever is being thrown your way, seeing what happens and discovering a new adventure can be the exact antidote you need for a creative block!
BONUS: Get help!
Sometimes we are just too close to our own genius to realize it! I'd be nowhere without the mentors I've had in my career. I offer blog coaching if you need an unbiased set of eyes, help refining a skill, or are just thinking about launching your blog but haven't brought yourself to do it yet! By my second year of blogging I had landed brand sponsorships with major brands like Clorox, Dunkin Donuts, Oreo's and more. By year three I was generating 6 figures from my blog alone and that number has only continued to grow. My clients have had major success too from landing sponsored travel before their blog has gone live, to hitting 50,000 pageviews in just a few months, and so much more! Learn more about working together on your blog here!
How do you break free from a creative rut? Leave me a comment!
Originally published 8/19/16; Updated 5/1/2020