Creativity has a mystique. It’s not something easily pinned down. For those who have a creative job or hobby, it can feel like an essence that brings joy, but it can just as mysteriously slip through their fingers. Finding that drive again can be tricky, but an unexpected dip in inspiration doesn’t have to mean waiting around for that spark to return. There are plenty of ways to encourage those innovative juices to flow once more.
When creativity is part of your everyday life, it’s crucial to understand it. As a quality or ability, it isn’t a basic human trait or something ever-flowing in an artist’s mind. That’s a nice idea, but it’s not the reality. It seems to come and go as it pleases. There will be highs and lows. A slump isn’t the end of the work or a sign of a declining skill.So, don’t be tempted to hit your head against the wall or give up on projects-that will release only some of the frustration. It’s best to accept the moment for what it is. Let go of the desire to try to control creativity and it will become easier to navigate any slumps that come your way.
Contrary to the suggestion of some headlines,there’s little concrete evidence of a specific way to increase creativity. There’s no magical way to live at a constant creative peak-everyone does their best and finds what brings on their own inspiration.
Here’s the thing: just accepting the fact that you’re in a slump won’t suddenly make you feel creative again. It’s important to acknowledge this because you may be there for a while. You have to push through the lows to get to the highs. It may be the case that the low wasn’t the result of something you’d done. Sometimes the best advice is just to keep chugging along. It may not be the fastest route, but it’ll get you through.
Express Your Emotions
When searching for something new, don’t always look for razor-sharp focus. Rather, seek a state where the mind is open to many ideas and allow yourself to think beyond your regular patterns. For creativity, you look for emotions that create a feeling where you’re searching for something, digging deep, but not too focused on the exact details of any one thing. These emotions leave you more open to new ideas and give you the motivation to seek more unusual thoughts.
That might seem clear-cut, but emotions are complicated. Few individuals have a single emotion in any given moment. It’s usually a mixture of several feelings and reactions to the mind and surroundings. Finding an ideal state for creativity may seem impossible, but there are ways to keep track of how you’re feeling and what’s causing some of those emotions.
Journalling is an effective way to catalogue this and it allows you to look back and discover any patterns. If re-reading entries identifies a distraction, such as watching cute animal videos instead of focusing on work, you can begin to plan how to make your emotions work more effectively for you. Pair your low-motivation activities with the beginning of the brainstorming process – bring on those cute puppy clips! Then channel your high-attention and motivational activities when you need to hunker down and work with details to get things done.
When it comes to creativity, low-and high motivational periods are needed in the same way as varying emotions.Work with these emotions in different ways, but don’t ignore them.
Finding ways to focus on creativity is important, but there are also times when it can be detrimental. If you’re mid-project, focused yet feeling drained, don’t push aside how you feel, either psychologically or physically. Self-care is important now. Take a break, meditate or call a friend to talk through your feelings.
Take Stock of Your Environment
Now it’s time to put aside any emotions and ask yourself what’s wrong. What’s standing in the way or what is missing from this situation? Are you at the start of a project? Are you lacking inspiration or is there too much going on and you don’t know where to begin? Is everything absent of structure, or do you just need discipline to sit down and plough through until the end?
Reflect on your environment. It may be too cluttered,too open or maybe you just need a change of scenery. The ideal environment will vary, depending on each individual’s needs. A person searching for a creative boost may actually benefit from messier surroundings. Cluttered, dark and unusual surroundings may seem distracting, but their unexpected nature can lead the mind in new directions.
If you’re more frustrated than curious, a tidier environment might do the trick. A bright and organized desk setup might help you work through a project rather than find a creative solution.
Check Your Habits
Multitasking seems to be a habit shared by many, but success doesn’t always involve rushing around and juggling an endless to-do list. In fact, scientific studies have suggested this can be counterproductive. This is especially important during a creative slump. If everything seems to be working against you, it can help to focus on one task. Multitasking might make you feel productive, but it’s not something the brain is necessarily able to do well. Two different thoughts aren’t able to run continuously at the same time with a high level of success.
Concentrating on what’s in front of you will allow the mind to get to a point of higher-level thinking to utilize your creativity.
Make a Plan or Throw it Away…
Once the surroundings are taken care of, you can return to the project. Concentration can help you push through difficult moments, but it can be hard to figure out what to focus on. If you’re struggling to keep your mind on your task, try a strict schedule for a day or two. The Pomodoro Technique, which uses a timer to break down work into short intervals, or a productivity app that helps you to structure your day, can help keep you in the mindset needed to think deeply about a subject.
If it’s still a challenge to find a spark, try throwing the schedule out the window. Let any feelings guide you and explore random thoughts. They may seem silly, but that could lead to a surprising innovation or a shift in perspective.
Creative slumps can create feelings of hopelessness, but accepting them as natural, or as a challenge to expand creative thinking, flips the situation and maintain a healthy working pattern. Don’t despair-just think differently.
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