How to Get Out of a Creative Rut

Lately I’ve been feeling stagnant to the max. Words flow thick like concrete when I sit down to write, and the images I shoot look static and dull to my eyes. To add insult to injury, the harder I push myself to create, the worse everything gets! I think it’s safe to say that in the ebb and flow that is the creative process, I’m very much wallowing in the ebb. In a recent effort to vent a little, I opened up about the situation on Instagram. In addition to getting plenty of commiseration (it’s comforting to know I’m not alone!), I received tons of fantastic tips on how to get out of a creative rut. They were so good, in fact, that I thought I’d share them with you here. Because hey, when you’re feeling blocked, the best gift of all is a blog post that practically writes itself!

butterfly chair via @citysage

Plenty of folks advised putting down your tools and stepping back from the problem, with so many suggestions for self-imposed timeouts!

“I find I get into a routine and am in autopilot, which makes me feel creatively dull. I watch videos on NOWNESS, go to museum or galleries, watch films, and generally just get out of my head and into a different space or medium.” – Sassy Kitchen

“When I get into a funk, I clear some time for a little pampering and soul-care. Relaxing into a hot, salty bath, a face mask, and treating my skin with natural oils helps reset my mind!” – Precious Skin Elixers

“Go to a different city or town. Poke around in all the weird spots and remember that the world is a big place.” – Sarah Thomsen

“Hang out with little kids. Have them do their thing with your stuff. Their brains know no bounds.” – T.S. Roberts

“Go to the movies alone.” – Nathan Michael

simple midcentury living room via @citysage

Others suggested digging deeper, rather than putting down the shovel:

“When I know I need a day off to recharge but can’t take one, I hack the system. Buy a lavender latte. Send five emails to people you’re excited about (collaborators! friends! your mom!). Plan something you’re excited about (a project! an idea! a trip!). Works every time. Sometimes we try to solve creative blocks by pulling our energy back and cooling our jets, but I also think it’s just as helpful to pour on a few passionate coals!” – Erin Loechner

“I’ve found that just giving myself permission to explore and be creative wasn’t enough; rethinking what is it that I’m looking for in my life—and [identifying] the steps to get there—has helped me get moving. It’s still a work in progress, but each time I answer one of my questions I feel a bit more energized.” – Ana Carneiro Design

moody ocean waves via @citysage

And still others offered the wisdom of acceptance and patience:

“A long walk or a short trip to a nearby town or neighborhood you never go to. Return to your senses and observe/enjoy taste touch smell sight sound rather than attempting to create. Maybe you’re not block so much as in need of something else. There’s a time for the trees to be bare of leaves. Creativity and expression has seasons just like everything else!” – Marie Witt

“Sometimes acknowledging your rut is half the battle. It’s like telling the universe that you’re ready for more creativity, like you’ve made space for it. I know it sounds super hippy dippy, but I got that kind of perspective from reading ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert. It did my creativity wonders!” – Lindsay Binette

“I’ve found its best to accept the ebb and know it’ll flow again!” – Lucinda

hawaii via @citysage

Can you relate? Do any of these tips resonate with you? What do you do when you’re feeling blocked at work or at home? Head to the original Instagram post for more great tips on how to get out of a creative rut—and to contribute your own. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Images via the practically perfect Instagram feed of Nicole Franzen.

 

 

  • http://abulouslife.blogspot.com Abbie E.

    um yes I do to the movies.
    Abbie E.
    http://abulouslife.blogspot.com/

  • http://niconicobella.blogspot.de Nicole Isabella

    I’ve been in a rut for longer than I care to admit. I think doing things is important, though. I notice that if all I have to do is sit and wallow in my lack of creativity and passively watch tv/surf the net etc, it gets worse. I do like Marie’s comment, though. I definitely agree that there are just times we’re not going to be creative, much like the leaves are not going to be on the trees.

    Sometimes all we can do is accept it and either let it lie or do it anyway. It’s not too bad to push ahead with writing, since you can just force it out and deal with fixing it later. I definitely have to do that or I just abandon yet another project. >>;’

    x
    http://indigoya.blogspot.de

  • http://www.erinelizabethmiller.com Erin Elizabeth

    I feel when I’m in one of those ruts, all can really do is just leave my house/city/state. Even if it’s just a couple of hours, I usually feel loads better but I can see how the playing with little kids one works. They really make creativity seem too easy to find.
    Erin | http://www.erinelizabethmiller.com

  • Samantha Lim

    I can totally relate. Especially the movies. xx.
    http://samanthalwc.blogspot.co.uk

  • Samantha Lim

    I can totally relate. Especially the movies. xx.
    http://samanthalwc.blogspot.co.uk

  • http://onmywayacqua.blogspot.com Acqua

    I’m also in a creative rut and this was so helpful! It isn’t about my blog, which is going fine, but about other projects I’m into. I feel like I just got stuck. I’ll try some of the advice I saw here! I’m glad it helped you! 🙂

    onmywayacqua.blogspot.com | Acqua xx

  • http://courtneylucia.blogspot.co.uk Courtney

    Lately, I’ve also been in a massive creative rut. I’m gonna give a few of these a go! So glad it helped you! 🙂

  • http://thatdamnhoney.com Honey Razo

    I’ve definitely used some of these tips before and it’s a good reminder to see it on a blog once in a while. I appreciate that we’re all trying to inspire each other to keep at it.

    I’ve found that sometimes, different tactics work at different moods. So, one some days unplugging is definitely what I need, while on other days, I need to reconnect to reinvigorate my drive.

    Thanks for this post!

  • http://anotherrantingreader.blogspot.co.uk Another Ranting Reader

    This is great! I’m in a but of a block at the moment and it’s terrible! I just have no ideas whatsoever!

    Jemima x
    anotherrantingreader.blogspot.co.uk

  • Brian Blacknick

    I find walking by the sea generally will help recharge my creative juices. I’ve been in a rut this winter. So instead of working on my customary large pieces I’ve given myself a challenge of creating 30 small sculptures in 30 days with a break on Sunday. It seems to be helping. I’m coming up with a new piece daily and the fun part is it doesn’t have to be a labor of love.

  • Brian Blacknick

    I find walking by the sea generally will help recharge my creative juices. I’ve been in a rut this winter. So instead of working on my customary large pieces I’ve given myself a challenge of creating 30 small sculptures in 30 days with a break on Sunday. It seems to be helping. I’m coming up with a new piece daily and the fun part is it doesn’t have to be a labor of love.

  • http://www.MarinaSays.com Marina Laduda

    I wrote a very similar post recently… I like the idea of getting inspiration outside of the routine. Galleries can do a lot to motivate me too!
    http://www.MARINASAYS.com

  • http://www.MarinaSays.com Marina Laduda

    I wrote a very similar post recently… I like the idea of getting inspiration outside of the routine. Galleries can do a lot to motivate me too!
    http://www.MARINASAYS.com

  • http://www.MarinaSays.com Marina Laduda

    I left a link to this post in my latest blog 🙂
    http://www.marinasays.com