Updated post. We all suffer from droughts in creativity. They’re a necessity really, I believe, as a time away from our craft/projects hels us reflect and rest whilst providing critical opportunity to be re-inspired again. Distance from your work is important to the process too as it allows you to review your work more objectively after a break.
If you don’t already know, I’m a mum of two and blogging and vlogging is my full time job. I was a multi-award winning screenwriter and TV Director/filmmaker before my blog evolved into a career, and I’ve experienced writer’s block a lot over the years. It’s never lasted long though so I thought I’d share my tips on how I personally overcome it.
This post is for her and anyone else suffering a creative slump right now.
- Accept how you feel. Embrace your emotions, however silly/hard it seems. Be at peace with how you feel at this very moment. Trust it will pass. Similarly to insomnia, if you lie there anxious at the fact you’re not sleeping, sleep will allude you. Accept you can’t sleep, practice meditation/deep breathing (I like to count the different sounds I can hear as a means of distraction) or get up and do something else before trying to sleep again, works for me. The same applies to writer’s block. Accept, distract, become active and inspiration will come.
- Talk about it. I find the greatest antidote to writer’s block and the inevitable self-doubt which usually accompanies it, is to talk about it. To share your fears in order to process them. To reduce their threat. Speak to those you trust because once your worries are out there, they become less scary and more easily overcome. You’ll also find comfort in other creatives admitting they too suffer from creative blocks too. Let’s naturalise writer’s block in order to combat it quicker.
- Distraction is key. Distraction eventually leads to renewed inspiration and motivation. Go for a walk, hang out with people who bring joy to your life, and pursue something else creative. Paint if you usually write, change form and medium to switch things up, trying your hand at poetry if you usually write prose and vice versa or picking up an instrument for example, and expose yourself to other people’s art too, visiting a gallery or museum or watching content online you’d otherwise ignore. Open your mind. Liberate yourself from the pressure to create and immerse yourself in something else. Remember that you have to LIVE in order to CREATE. Don’t forget that as with your muscles, your creative muscles: arms and brain need a break too. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Everyone needs recovery time.
- Do something new. I find that doing something out of the ordinary which pushes me out of my comfort zone, always gives me a confidence-boost be it starting Pilates or cooking something I’ve never made before. When you feel like you’ve lost your creative mojo, the fear can be overwhelming…You question whether you’ll ever write/film/paint again. Trust that when you love something, it will return. Passion always overrides fear. This current slump will pass.
- One of my most beloved books on writing is the classic Becoming a Writer by Dorethea Brande written in 1934. Dorethea advocates writing as soon as you wake up, ‘training yourself, in the twilight zone between sleep and the full waking state, simply to write’. Writing a stream of consciousness, without judgement or re-reading it, and before reading a paper or checking your phone will help free you from the pressures of writing with a purpose other than to simply enjoy the act of writing. Thanks to this daily practise, you will rediscover the joy of simply writing, for yourself, for the pleasure of it and before you know it, you will be sharing your work with the world, once more.
I hope you’ve found these tips useful.