There’s a TV series on SHOWTIME called Californication that I find so entertaining. It involves a lot of sex, drugs, and alcohol, but beyond that the main character, Hank Moody, played by David Duchovny, is a writer who wrote one amazing book and has since then turned into a screw up and failed miserably at life and at writing his second book.
Throughout the show’s 7 seasons you see Hank get his life together slightly only to screw it up royaly soon after. He’s such a schmuck, but he’s also a good guy and you really can’t help but cheer for him.
TV isn’t real, but you can learn real lessons from it. As Hank Moody shows us, being a creative minded person can be tricky. Creativity isn’t something that is constantly flowing. It has a tendency to come and go. One day can be full of inspiration and creativity while another day can have you unable to string together a sentence.
The mistake Hank makes (and why he continues to be a schmuck for the better part of 7 seasons) is that he wallows in his writers block and blames it on his alcoholism and hedonistic ways.
Creativity and inspiration isn’t something we can turn off and on like a switch, but what we can do is court it, encourage it to come back, and put ourselves in the position to be ready for it when it does decide to show up again.
7 Ways to Get out of a Creative Slump
Change your routine
Routines are comfortable. It’s a scientific fact that we crave them, even if it’s only in the slightest way. For me it’s my morning routine. From 7am-11am. I do (and eat) literally the same thing everyday. The afternoons vary from day to day, but my mourning routine is like a warm hug and is sacred to me. There’s nothing wrong with having a routine, but when you’re low on inspiration making a subtle change can shake things up a bit. Instead of drinking your morning coffee at the table, step outside and drink it on the front porch and watch the sun come up. Try waking up 15 or 30 minutes earlier than normal for a week. Try a new workout class at your gym, or try mastering a new yoga pose. Even just a subtle change can spark something new inside of you.
If I’ve been sitting in front of my computer for 20+ mins and I still have nothing, or if I keep writing 1 sentence only to delete it, it’s time for me to call a spade and spade and just step away. Sitting there trying to will yourself to be inspired rarely cultivates anything. Although, believe me, I’ve tried it many times.
What you do when you step away is totally up to you. We’re all different and find relaxation and peace of mind in different ways. Maybe you go for a walk or a run. Maybe you take a nap, or call your mom, or watch an episode of your favorite guilty pleasure TV show (mine is Botched). Just do something that will get your mind off your lack of inspiration.
A lot of times when I find myself with a bad case of writer’s block it’s because I’m stretching myself a little to thin. I have learned (through a lot of trail and error) that I work better and produce better work when I give myself time to recharge. For me, that usually means taking a few short breaks throughout the day to make sure I’m not running myself down to much. Typically I’ll grab a book and read for 10-15 minutes, or take the dogs outside for a quick walk. It sounds like a small change, but it has been extremely effective for me.
Meet up or chat with another creative minded friend
We all have that one friend who just gets us. Maybe it’s another blogger who you’ve connected with, or your sister that you can always turn to. Whoever it is find them and have a cup of coffee or dinner with them. If you can’t meet in person plan a time for a FaceTime session, whatever it is just get in contact with them. Talk about everything – life, family, health, wellness, work. Tell them you’ve been struggling with being inspired lately. Having a convo with a good friend can be so freeing. I always always always leave chats my friend Megan with new clarity because she just gets me. Being reminded that you’re understood is incredibly powerful and uplifting. Find your Megan.
Let other people inspire you
Earlier this year I went to a NEEDTOBREATHE concert with my husband and my friend Megan and her husband (yes, the same Megan I just told you about). NEEDTOBREATHE makes amazing music and has an incredible story. Their main singer, Bear, told several personal stories about how the band almost broke up and even how his relationship with his brother, Bo, the band’s guitarist, almost fell apart completely. Their words and stories were so deep and personal, and they played and sang with so much passion and soul you could literally feel the magic in the air. I left that concert so incredibly inspired by them. To this day, when I’m feeling like I’m running on empty, I shut everything down to listen to their albums and take myself back to that concert and how on fire they made me feel.
PS – Listen to their song Difference Maker and then try to tell me you’re not inspired. I literally get chills everytime I listen to it.
Help someone else
This is basically my advice for any troubling life situation. It is so fool-proof and such a game changer. Helping someone else gets you out of your head and takes you away from being obsessed with solving your own problems. Focus on helping someone else with their problems. Maybe it’s just raking the leaves for your neighbor, or proofreading a paper for your little sister, or helping your mom organize her closet. Helping someone else puts good vibes and positivity out into the world, and that breeds more good vibes and positivity. It’s very inspiring to know you’re the reason for someone’s good day.
Whatever you do, do not turn into Hank Moody and wallow in your lack of inspiration. Everyone lacks creativity and inspiration from time to time. It’s just a part of life as a creative. If you follow these steps and stay positive, all the creative juices will come back to you in no time.