Losing your Creative Spark and Getting it Back
I lost my creative spark recently. I can’t exactly pinpoint why. I think it was a combination of events in my life that left me depressed and unmotivated. This mood lasted weeks and it hindered my growth and business prospects.
I started to get the desire to do creative things again, but the lack of motivation was still there and I couldn’t quite bring myself to engage the spark plugs. Eventually this creative slump began to affect my actual work, and that was the last straw for me. Like Austin Powers, I had to get my mojo back.
The first step on figuring out how to get my spark back came from writing a few entries in my journal about how I feel. Some may think it’s pointless to journal, but being an introvert, I look at it as me being my own personal therapist. Writing about my state of mind got me coming up with ideas to bring myself out of this depression. I listed some of the things I wanted to do to get my spark back, and then the next step was acting on them.
While I may not be 100% back to my normal self, I’m feeling a big improvement now and I’m ready to conquer the world again.
How I Got My Creative Spark Back
My process for finding my spark may not work for everybody, but here’s a list of things I did to get it back.
Finish a project
I think one of the reasons I get into these depressed states is because I have so many outstanding projects that I haven’t completed. To be clear, I’m not talking about projects related to the job that pays the bills.
In my case I had several non-work related projects, the main one being a blog that I had to set up for a friend. I hadn’t made any progress on it in weeks due to both my exhaustion from work and my lack of enthusiasm for anything. I finally decided that I would pick the project back up and see it through.
To help me achieve this I split the work into small chunks so that I literally only had to build one part of the blog each day. By doing this, I ensured that I was making some kind of progress on the website regularly, and that made me feel better inside.
Try some creative writing
Creative writing is something that everyone should experiment with, even if only in small doses. I’m not saying you need to write a full book, or a script, or a poem. You don’t even have to finish what you write. Creative writing is just a great exercise for a creative mind, and it can really get your mind working.
I achieved this by taking part in a few of Chuck Wendig’s Flash Fiction challenges, which usually prompts you to write a 2000 word piece of fiction based on a new set of instructions issued weekly.
You don’t even have to publish what you write if you really don’t want to. For me, the creative writing process is therapeutic as it gets me thinking about new ideas and concepts. It will also help you rediscover your vocabulary and apply words into context in new ways.
Do some housework
Nothing gives you a feeling of fulfilment like cleaning your room, or tidying up the kitchen. In this digital age we sometimes neglect our household responsibilities. This is especially true for me, someone who works primarily with computers.
On days when I work from home and I get stuck (or in this case depressed), I usually begin thinking of ways to be productive around the house instead. Doing these menial tasks give me room to think and once it’s all done I feel like I’ve accomplished something. This then gives me the confidence to go back to my work more motivated.
People exercise for different reasons. Of course, the number one reason is always because of the health benefits, but exercise can also alter your mood and boost your creativity. If you think about it scientifically, exercise affects the brain on multiple fronts. Exercise helps to get more oxygen to the brain, which facilitates information processing and memory functions. So this will no doubt get your thinking muscles pulsating.
Because of my Sickle Cell, I’m usually limited in the amount of exercise I can do, but I try to do as much as I can every couple of days. During my recent slump, I wasn’t exercising at all, but if I had been then maybe it would have helped to boost my morale slightly.
Go on a day trip
Nothing works like getting away for a day to see new surroundings. I’m someone who loves big cities and buildings, so I typically like to escape to London for a while when I need to get my creative spark back.
However, most recently a friend introduced me to Cambridge. I enjoyed it because it has some pretty cool book stores, and reading is one of my biggest hobbies these days. On top of that, Cambridge has some astounding architecture, and I love me some architecture. This was almost like my trip to Bath last year, and that trip was what inspired me to finally start my online book club.
No matter what your interest is, visiting somewhere new will always give you room to explore those interests in new ways. Sometimes you just need new surroundings to awaken something from within you.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… Nothing helps you rediscover yourself like journaling. Whether you write about your thoughts, or business ideas, or the books you read or even about your religion. Writing something down (by hand) ultimately makes you feel good about yourself. For me, it was all I needed to get myself back into the flow of things. Now I’m juiced up to my eyeballs in creativity and all it took was me dropping a few brain dumps into my journal. Try it and see if you don’t feel better about yourself after.
If you’re at a loss for journal prompts then you can check out my Journal Topic Generator widget.