If you’ve ever done anything creative in your life (like, literally, anything), you’ve probably reached a point where, despite your best intentions, you just…couldn’t create anything. You’re sitting in front of your computer, with your favorite program or tool fired up and ready to go, but you just can’t. think. of. anything. No matter how hard you try.
And that’s when you realize it: you’re experiencing a creative drought. You might even start to worry that there’s no coming back from it. It’s frustrating, to say the least!
While in the moment it might feel like you’re never going to come back from it, you definitely can.
1. Take a Step Back
Sure, it may sound contradictory, but sometimes taking a step back from your work and giving it (and yourself) some room to breathe can be hugely beneficial. During one of my art classes in college, I learned an important lesson, that I carry with me to this day: to see a situation from a new perspective or determine what needs to be changed, often, all you need to do is take a step back.
In fact, studies show that after focusing intently on something for a long time, the resources in our brains decline – making it more difficult to perform. Next time you’re struggling to be creative, take some time away from whatever you’re working on and do something else until you feel ready to come back to it.
2. Get Some Exercise
We all know that exercise has many benefits beyond just the obvious ones.
Sometimes, when you’re stuck, it’s nice to get away from your computer and get some fresh air. You don’t have to run a marathon, either. Just the simple act of getting your blood flowing and getting some additional oxygen to your brain will often do the trick.
Pick your favorite activity, whether it’s running, yoga, a long, leisurely walk, or a bike ride, and, as Nike would say, just do it! Even if no amazing, new ideas come to you as a result, you’ll still leave feeling energized and refreshed. And that, in itself, can make it a lot easier to get back into a creative head-space.
3. Get a Change of Scenery
If you’re accustomed to working in a specific environment like an office, at your kitchen table, or in your studio in complete and total solitude, you might want to think about getting a change of scenery. You can try working from your favorite coffee shop, a beautiful library, a co-working space (if you can afford it!), or even a local park. But, what if you can’t leave the office? You can always try finding a new space to work there, too.
Can’t get away or move within your office? Here’s a hack: you can update your desk for a quick, easy change of scenery. Start by giving it a thorough clean. Rearrange things if you like. You could even buy a plant or some decorations to breathe new life into your space. If your desk is constantly full of clutter, it’s going to stress you out and make being creative more difficult – so at the very least, clean it up. Maybe the fresh scent of lemon Lysol wipes will awaken something inside you!
Now, these suggestions are just the beginning, but they’re the ones I turn to when I find myself struggling to be creative. And if you’ve tried them all to no avail, you might need to just start creating, no holds barred, and see where it goes. Often, the very act of starting a new project is inspiring in itself. So, don’t wait – go write that article you’ve been procrastinating!