Wednesday, July 14, 2010
The Creative Depression
I considered cancelling out of the retreat since I didn’t have a burning desire to work on any of my projects, but then I realized the trap I was creating for myself. Creativity is not just a gift, it is also a skill--use it or lose it. So, with no particular project in mind, I booked the weekend off and headed to the retreat anyway. I tried very hard to work on any one of my WIPs but had no success at all (I literally sat there…). By noon on Saturday I had come to the conclusion that I wasn’t being realistic – how could I spend the weekend writing at full tilt when, over the previous few months, I hadn’t spent more than a few hours writing?
Spurred on by the conversation I’d had with a fellow writer on the drive to the retreat, I decided to do a little research into how to rejuvenate my dwindled creativity. The weekend turned out to be a good one. Not because I reached my word count goal (I didn’t), but because by the time I left I was once again optimistic about writing!
If you suffering from more than just writer’s block, try one of the following to rekindle that creative spark:
Do something new
- This goes beyond just working on a new project—try something you have never done before. Take a belly-dance class. Try your hand at gardening. Join a water-polo team. Think different in a big way!
Expose yourself to creativity
- Hang out with other artists and writers. Go to an art exhibit. Take in a theatre production. Attend an art class. Talk the talk!
Document your thoughts and ideas
- Spend a few minutes each morning writing down your dreams (at least what you remember). Keep a daily journal. Take a notebook wherever you go to jot down ideas. Go for a walk with your camera and take pictures of anything you find interesting. Create a mind map. Don’t sensor what you document—be free!
Take a break
- Take 15 minutes to rest your mind and fingers. Take an hour and go to the gym. Set aside what you are currently working on and start on a new project. Taking a break is different than quitting—don’t give up!
Muzzle that inner critic
- Stop over-analyzing and over-editing your work. Allow yourself to make mistakes. Don’t be embarrassed by your ideas. You are not perfect—don’t expect your work to be. Think positive!
If you need a little more help boosting your creativity, here are a few more resources to check out. The one thing they all seem to agree on is the commitment, time and effort it takes to nurture and strengthen your creativity.
30 Tips to Rejuvenate Your Creativity: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/30-tips-to-rejuvenate-your-creativity.html
How to Boost Creativity: http://psychology.about.com/od/cognitivepsychology/tp/how-to-boost-creativity.htm
Creativity Exercises: http://desktoppub.about.com/od/creativityexercises/a/saedi.htm
How to Boost Your Creativity: http://hubpages.com/hub/How-to-Boost-Your-Creativity
This week I picked up a copy of the The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which is designed as a twelve-week exercise to ‘restart your creative engine.’ I’ll let you know how it goes. http://www.theartistsway.com/
Have you ever been in a creative funk before? How did you claw your way out?