13 Ways To Get Out Of A Creative Rut
Our often hectic, overwhelming, comparison-filled lives make it easy to get stuck in a creative rut. When you feel yourself getting stuck, try implementing a few of these simple and easy creativity boosters to keep the creative juices flowing
Did you know that you are created to be creative? It’s in your nature. You are created in the image of God, who chose to reveal His own creative nature before anything else. See Genesis 1:1 and check it out for yourself, “In the beginning God created…”
Whether you create art, cook meals, or raise children, or if you spend your time crunching numbers, cleaning floors, or answering phones, you are using your creativity to engage with life.
Unfortunately, you also live in a world where creativity tends to get squashed. Busyness, criticism from others, self-doubt, and obsessive comparison are just a few of the hurdles that can stop the creative juices.
So the next time you are feeling uncreative and out of sorts, try one of the following ideas to get those creative juices flowing again!
1. Give yourself some grace
If you’re not feeling creative, it’s OK! Everything in life goes up and down, and sometimes you just need some time to let the creativity tank refill. Rather than trying to force creativity, choose to be OK with feeling out of sorts from time to time.
2. Take a nap
What better way to give yourself some grace than with a nap? When your brain or body gets tired, creativity often slips away. Try resting for just 20 or 25 minutes then returning to your project. You might be surprised how reenergized and creative you feel.
3. Take a walk
Another great way to reenergize and boost your creative juices is to take a walk outside. Nature is a beautiful reflection of God’s creativity and has a wonderful way of boosting our own creativity.
4. Take a break from the digital noise
It is really hard to feel creative when you’re bombarded by the constant noise of social media, emails, calendars, text messages, news, etc., etc..
Perhaps even worse than the constant noise is the pull toward comparison and self-criticism that social media promotes. (See tip #9 below for a few thoughts on dealing with online comparison.)
Try taking a digital break so you can more clearly hear your own creative impulses without worrying about how your projects compare to someone else's. Hop over to the blog post, Ten Easy Ways To End Digital Overwhelm for a few ideas.
5. Clean your space
Just like digital noise, clutter can dampen your creativity. Spend just 5 or 10 minutes cleaning your workspace and you will likely feel those creative sparks begin to fly again.
6. Change your scenery
Sometimes all that’s needed to get your creativity going again is to change your location. Visit a coffee shop, work in a park, or simply move your chair next to a window to give yourself a little creative boost.
7. Work on something else for a while
Just like changing your scenery can boost creativity, changing what you are working on can help you get out of a creative slump.
8. Ignite your senses
Believe it or not, your senses are a big part of your creative experience. The next time you are in a creative rut, try intentionally engaging one or more of your senses.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
• smell some uplifting essential oils or light an aromatic candle
• savor a delicious piece of fruit, square of dark chocolate, or a yummy beverage
• walk barefoot in the grass and feel the blades between your toes
• listen to inspiring music
• place a brightly colored flower on your desk
9. Look to others for inspiration
Creativity isn’t intended to live in a vacuum. It is creative by nature (obviously!) and intended to spark creativity and inspiration in others. So when you are feeling uncreative, try indulging in other people’s creations. Visit a museum, scroll through Pinterest, read an inspiring book, or peruse a favorite blog and let the creative juices flow!
A word of warning: it is really easy to get caught in comparison or self-criticism when observing other people’s creations. Remember that what is presented to the public, whether on Instagram or at your local museum, is usually a highly curated collection of the best of the best of someone’s creative output. Also, remember that you are created to be completely unique, with a uniquely beautiful way of expressing yourself. And lastly, remember that creative expression is something that is developed and improved over time. It can take years to master your craft, so be sure to honor where you are by not criticizing yourself for not being today where you will be tomorrow.
10. Let go of perfection
Demanding perfection is not only a creativity killer, but it can also stop you from completing anything. I am very familiar with this one - perfectionism has slowed down or stopped many of my creative ventures. Embrace the idea that finished is better than perfect.
One practical way to move past perfectionism and give yourself a creative jumpstart is to set a deadline - when the deadline comes, the project is finished and ready to share with the world, whether perfect or not.
11. Just start
Creativity tends to respond to action. A blank white canvas can feel completely overwhelming, but once that first stroke of color is laid, a picture has begun to form.
12. Commit to working on your project for a few minutes a day
It is easy to get caught in the thinking that you don’t have time for your creative endeavors, that somehow if you just had an extra day or could get away to that cabin for a weekend, then you could finally be creative. That’s silliness! You have enough time in your day to express yourself creatively. Carve out just 5 or 10 minutes every day to do some sort of a creative project. You don’t need to complete anything. You don’t even need to keep what you worked on. You just need to let your creativity express itself for a few minutes so it can flourish.
13. Remind yourself that you are created to be creative
When doubts and fears are putting a damper on your creative fire remember that it is in your nature to create. You were made for this! You may feel insecure, and things may not turn out quite how you hoped, but you, just like the things you are creating, are a beautiful work in progress.
Bonus tip - surround yourself with creative prompts
If you’ve been following me online for more than 5 minutes, you know I am a big fan of surrounding yourself with uplifting and inspiring reminders. I love this pretty create and dream mug over in the shop. It’s a perfect reminder that you are created to be creative.
Pin in for later...
...and I have filled him with the Spirit of God,
with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills -
to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze,
to cut and set stones, to work in wood,
and to engage in all kinds of crafts.
Also in Grace Notes
These verses about trusting God with your paths and plans will help sooth the frantic anxiety that so often stops us from making any decisions at all. The next time you are facing a decision – whether big or small – read through these, receive the Godly wisdom, and step forward in confidence.
A joyful life starts with a joy-filled day. And developing a few Joyfulness Habits can go a long way toward creating joy-filled days. Joyfulness Habits are simple, fun actions that you can start taking today to boost your own daily joy.