A lot of people in the writing-focused Facebook groups I am in have been saying they’re depressed and don’t feel like writing. They ask how they can get their creativity back on track.
What I find is that the advice one person gives wouldn’t necessarily work for another person. This is true of most advice you get for all sorts of situations.
I came up with a list of different tactics you can try to get your creativity back on track:
- Take a walk, exercise, go outdoors in a natural environment, or go out and run errands. Movement can help spark your creativity.
- Take a hiatus. This can be however long you need to make sure you’re itching to get back to the creative project. These hiatuses can last from a few hours to years. I took one for four years, from 2013 until 2017. The start of this blog was the project that kicked me back into motion and made me serious about writing again. That four-year break gave me fire and passion to not give up on my writing that long ever again. I got so tired of not writing that I needed to write.
- Work on another creative task: baking, cake decorating, sewing, cross stitching, knitting, crocheting, drawing, sketching, playing an instrument, singing, redesigning a website, using photoshop or graphic design software, or whatever you feel like doing. Often times, doing another creative activity can kickstart your creativity somewhere else.
- Set an amount of time you will allow yourself to feel blocked, then force yourself to get out of the slump. Don’t let it control you, but allow yourself time to sulk.
- Write down your fears and worries on a piece of paper, then rip it into tiny pieces and burn it (safely, outside in a cooking pan or something so you don’t burn down the house or the neighborhood.) This can be very freeing and make you feel better. It can also help you let go of those worries and fears.
- Force yourself to work on your creative activity for five minutes, and five minutes only. Don’t count the time you spend thinking about your project or staring at a blank screen. It has to be five minutes of actually working on it. If you don’t feel like continuing after those five minutes, you can stop. Oftentimes, working for five minutes will inspire you to do more.
- Promise yourself a reward for reaching a goal related to the project. For example, eating s chocolate bar for completing 1,000 words, if your creative project is writing. Sweets can be an excellent motivator to keep you writing. Smaller rewards, like a square of chocolate for every 150 words could be more motivating but takes more discipline to enforce.
- Finally, work on a small project you know you can complete. If you have a sense of accomplishment, it increases your endorphins and can catapult you out of your depression. These projects can be anything, such as folding the laundry and putting it away by 5 p.m. Anything that will give you a sense of completion.
I have used most of these at some point in time and some work better than others. The hiatus, although long, was really beneficial to increase my motivation and commitment to writing.
I got so fed up with being afraid to write that I just decided one day, nine months ago, I would start writing again.
The four years made me feel how terrible it was not to have a creative outlet. Now, if I don’t write almost every day I feel like something is off. I get restless and in a bad mood.