5 Ways to Climb Out of Your Creative Rut

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Let me take you back to the beginning of the year. I’m 7 days into the New Year and I’m facing a creative rut. I don’t know if it’s because I’m exhausted from the Holidays or if it’s because I’ve taken a 2 ½ week break away from the blog, I just know I’m stuck. What do I write about next? What photos do I take and share?

As a content creator, I’m always looking for inspiration to create. I’m looking for new places to take photos, new ideas for blog posts, and new locations to travel to throughout the year. Sometimes I hit a wall and a creative rut. If I’m feeling uninspired, here are a few steps I take to climb out of my creative rut:

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Don’t force it.

The first thing I do if I hit a creative rut is to stop the task I’m working on. I don’t write unless I’m feeling good or feeling inspired. If I feel like the task is dragging on, I step away from it. I’ve learned over the years that trying to write or do something when you don’t have the energy for it always translate to more work and time spent on the task. Additionally, I learned you end up putting this unnecessary pressure on yourself to create…

Advice to climb out of your creative rut:

It’s okay to step away from your task to remove the forcefulness and pressure around it. Unless you really need that pressure or deadline to complete something (some people use this as motivation), don’t place that pressure on your shoulders.

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Put yourself in a place that uplifts your mood

Whether I’m writing in a coffee shop on the weekends or sitting at work, the moment I hit a wall or creative rut, I stop. Then I focus on what’s going to uplift my mood.

So what things make me happy or always uplift me?  If I’m at home, I pet or walk my dog Boone around the block. If I’m in a coffee shop or at work, I’ll pull up a singing, dancing, or animal video to make me smile. If I have the time, I’ll also go work out.

Advice to climb out of your creative rut:

Reflect on what things in life help uplift you. Is it grabbing a coffee or tea with a friend? Is it stopping your tasks to listen to a podcast or a TED talk? Or maybe it’s walking your dog? After you figure out what those things are, embrace them next time you hit wall.

If you know what uplifts you and brings you into alignment, you’ll know what to do when you hit that creative rut.

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Reframe your mindset and your goals for that day

Sometimes I get into creative ruts because I get overwhelmed by my to-do lists and deliverables. At the height of the school year, I might be balancing 3-5 reading assignments, 2 blog posts, and projects during my day job. So when I’m in a coffee shop trying to focus on my blog post, my mind might jump to the reading assignments or thinking about work.

One way I’ve managed and dealt with competing priorities is by reframing my mindset and goals for the day. Instead of saying, I have x, y, and z to get done day and I have so many things to do. I take a step back and reframe my mindset and say: I get to do x, y, and z today and I get to do all these things – and if I don’t complete them all today, that’s also okay. Not only do I try to change my attitude around the things causing me stress at that time, but I also give myself permission to remove that stress.

Advice to climb out of your creative rut:

Sometimes we are the ones imposing all of our deliverables of the day. Rather than approaching our priorities with stress, reframe your mindset and choose different words to describe what you’re going to do. You’ll find that this subtle change actually helps change your emotions around your tasks.

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Get a different perspective

I have days where I have no idea what to write about next. I’ll have the pen in my hand and a blank notebook page and the only thing I can do is write the date or my name. When I face a creative block like this, I like to reach out to my friends, family, and boyfriend for ideas.

I like to reach out to my community because they reflect a bigger part of my audience. When I talk to my girlfriends about the struggles we’ve faced in our career, I know these struggles are probably experienced around women in our life stage. I’ve found that chatting with friends helps bring me new and fresh ideas about what to write about next. Additionally, just chatting with friends helps put me at ease. Sometimes you just need a good laugh with friends to lift up your mood!

Advice to climb out of your creative rut:

Do you have a go to friend or group of friends that you can go to if you feel stuck? If you’re a blogger, do you have other friends pursuing blogging that you could bounce off ideas with? Sometimes you have to chat with friends who understand what you’re trying to do or are going through to help get a different perspective.

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Get out of your comfort zone and shake up your normal schedule

If I’ve found that my creative rut is lasting over a day or two, I know I need to shake up my normal schedule. It’s so easy to get into the same rhythm; I walk my dog, I go to work, I walk my dog/take him to the park, I make dinner, I blog –or- go to school if it’s during the school year – then I sleep. While my ideas typically flow throughout the week, I have found myself stuck in a routine and in a creative rut.

Here are a few ways I shake up my normal routine:

I run a new route in my neighborhood

I’ll try a new dessert place or restaurant in Seattle

I’ll try a new workout class (since I typically just run or go to the gym)

Advice to climb out of your creative rut:

If you never shake up your normal schedule, what ways could you do this? What ways have you stepped out of your comfort zone in the past? Has shaking things up helped you find a new perspective or new ideas?

There you have it friends! 5 different ways to climb out of a creative rut!

Creative rut – how to get out of a creative block – how to get out of a creative funk – how to break out of a creative rut – creative rut meaning – what is a creative rut

What tips or advice do you have for climbing out of a creative rut?

Shout out: Thank you to Alexa Rucker for submitting this question on Instagram Stories! You can follow her @lexrucker on Instagram!

If you have any questions or topics you want to see on Emma’s Edition, please let me know! Here are a few examples of questions people have sent in and I’ve answered:

Ask Emma: How do you balance everyday life with taking photos?

Instagram Story Questions & Answers Round Up

4 Pieces of Advice for Balancing Grad School, Your Full Time Job, and a Side Hustle

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Thank you for reading!

Love,

Emma

Photos: Karya Schanilec

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Creative rut – how to get out of a creative block – how to get out of a creative funk – how to break out of a creative rut – creative rut meaning – what is a creative rut

4 Comments

  1. August 22, 2018 / 6:52 am

    Love this! I also try not to force it. Your side hustle should be fun! As soon as I feel it not being fun, I step back. I also try to catch myself playing the comparison game and say, “There’s always going to be someone better and worse than where you’re at.” It helps me focus in the moment.

  2. August 22, 2018 / 7:03 am

    I do a lot of the things you do. It also really helps if I take my dog for a hike. Even a long walk will do if I can’t get out of the city. Some of my best ideas come when I’m being active and breathing fresh air.

  3. August 22, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    Hey Emma! Great advice!I will definitely utilize some of these suggestions next time I’m stuck.

  4. August 23, 2018 / 5:43 pm

    Your post are always so helpful and also inspiring. You ask a lot of thought provoking question which I find helpful in the process of being in a rut. For me, I love to read. It is a hobby of mine and the times I get stuck in any rut, creative or otherwise, one of the things I reach for is a good book or a good read. It helps me feel better as it takes my mind off of things. Similarly, working out is also a way for me to not only de stress but to also clear my mind. It has some magic powers of sorting my thoughts for me! But bottom line, I disconnect. I try to listen to my body and if it’s saying I have had enough then I stop. I put everything away and regroup.

    Maureen | http://www.littlemisscasual.com

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