Too often, people are told that they need to be creating something new every day. But what happens when they can’t seem to find any ideas? This mental roadblock is called a creative slump.
In an increasingly complex world, the pressure to develop new ideas has become a burden. From the moment you’re born, you’re told that you have the potential to do something extraordinary with your life, but when this potential starts to feel like a responsibility, life can get stressful.
Creative slumps are not just reserved for artists. Doctors, lawyers, scientists, writers, students and practically anyone can experience a lack of creativity in their career and everyday lives. Doctors (mainly pediatricians), for instance, must come up with creative ways to comfort their patients, while lawyers have to conjure up different ways to convey their argument. Here are six things you can do to help escape a creative slump and get your juices flowing.
1. Read a book.
Because people don’t read nearly as much as they should nowadays, they are unaware of the power of books. Reading (or even listening to) a book can help generate new thoughts and ideas. Even so, the book doesn’t have to focus on the subject that a person is struggling with; a business executive can be inspired by a mystery book, while a baker can be influenced by a romance novel.
Regardless of the genre, books force your brain to think. For instance, a chapter about a character frolicking in the woods could inspire a reader to think about the darkness of the woods, and later, write a screenplay for a horror movie based in the woods. With today’s technology, a large index of books are at your convenient disposal, providing you with endless possibilities of new thoughts and ideas.
2. Listen to music while going for a walk, jog or run
Going for a walk, jog or run outside can be extremely beneficial in helping you gain inspiration. A jogger can look up at the sky and decide to write a story about a mysterious asteroid that lands on Earth, only to have it become the most popular dystopian novel since “The Hunger Games.”
Although the act of walking or running itself can get boring, adding some music can improve your mood and put some pep in your (quite literal) step.
3. Watch a television show, YouTube video or movie
This idea may sound counterproductive, but sometimes the most creative ideas can pop up when you are binge-watching a Netflix show or are in the midst of a movie-marathon weekend. Watching and appreciating other people’s original content, like a viral YouTube video, can inspire you to create your own.
Again, the video, movie or show does not have to focus on anything in particular. Stream a YouTube video about testing a new makeup look; watch reruns of throwback cartoons; engulf yourself in a suspenseful movie. Trust me, there is a plethora of unique media that can bring you right out of that creative slump.
4. Write down everything
Even if you don’t consider yourself a writer, picking up a notebook and writing down whatever comes to mind will surely dismiss your creative slump. Write at any time and in any place: at your desk during a work break, in your bed when you can’t sleep or on the bus during your commute.
You never know what will come from your thoughts. Maybe you write about a dream that you’ve had, and it becomes the plot of the novel you’ve been trying to write but never knew how to start. Getting your thoughts out on paper stimulates your creativity by forcing you to expand these thoughts into ideas. The process almost always ends in a new way of approaching your thoughts.
5. Go on social media
Again, this might seem contradictory, as social media is often a procrastination trap, but when used correctly, social media can be extremely beneficial. Social media platforms allow users from all over the world to start conversations about trending topics, tune-in to live political debates, view comical memes, and follow social movements like Black Lives Matter and #MeToo.
Beyond this, social media provides a platform for all kinds of artists (makeup artists, musicians, cartoonists, painters, authors, etc.) to showcase their work. These posts can inspire you to create something, post it to social media and have it be seen by millions of people in the matter of seconds. Maybe your contribution will gain recognition, spark a conversation or even create a social movement.
6. Talk to someone
Last but not least, talking to friends, family, or your significant other can help you get out of a creative slump. Because these people know you the best, they can help you figure out what you need to get your creativity back. Your best friend might suggest that the two of you travel someplace new to gain a different perspective. Your mom might suggest that you visit your hometown to get inspiration from childhood memories. Regardless of the situation, talking to someone can help you figure out your next step.
It can be difficult to know how to address and overcome a creative slump. To ensure that your creative block won’t persist, find a solution that works best for you. Maybe all six of these suggestions will help you, or maybe you find that just one works. With the constant pressure to create original and creative content, it is important for anyone in a slump to take time for themselves before returning to making more creative content.