12 Most Satisfying Means of Getting Your Creative Juices Flowing Again
We’ve all been there… we know we need to come up with the smartest-fastest-wittiest-awesomest idea of all time for our clients and… gulp…. our next uber-successful blog post.
We’re under the gun, feeling the pressure; the stress is high and… the only sound you hear coming from the creative side of your brain are crickets – chirping incessantly and loudly. Sometimes, it may even sound like a cricket convention. The fact is that it’s okay to admit that you’re stuck, creatively… to admit you’ve got nothing; that this stuff is hard sometimes and maybe you’d rather just go back to bed.
It’s okay to say all of those things but… it’s not okay to give up.
Why the tough love? Because we know that you have it in you. We all have the capacity to break through the block and make a splash that will drown out the crickets and get those creative juices flowing!
With that in mind, we’d like to share our 12 Most list with you… We love your feedback and encourage to share some ideas of your own.
1. It’s your Party, Cry if you Want To
Sometimes you need the proverbial good cry. You’re frustrated, angry and confused by the current challenge. It’s okay to grieve and fret. The more you fight the frustration, the more you’ll feel it. Acknowledge it, accept it, grab a glass of water, take a stroll… and get back to work.
2. Go to the gym
When Parissa has writer’s block or she needs to work through something stressful, she goes straight to the elliptical. There is something about the repetitive and iterative movement – complete with the TV in the background – that strangely helps her focus. Don’t judge; you can replace the gym with your favorite place away from your desk that enables you to just be “still” for a moment.
3. Schadenfreude sometimes helps
We don’t suggest reveling in the misfortune of someone else. However, another outlet for Parissa is the current Housewives franchise – even mid-day. Even in the smallest and most ridiculous of moments, she gets ideas for blog posts, new projects and receives answers to questions she puts out to the universe. Odd, yes… but that’s what this post’s title promised you. When that doesn’t help, she’s at least thankful that things aren’t THAT bad in comparison.
4. Play Mafia Wars/Words With Friends
…not necessarily at the same time… although that would be interesting. When I need to decompress, I head straight to Mafia Wars. For Parissa, it’s Words with Friends. She loves to find new opponents (parissa321). In both examples, though not “real life”, we’re forced to make critical decisions that determine wins or losses. It’s good , competitive fun – and a good mind break.
5. Feel the burn
Sometimes, you need to face the pain, especially after you’ve finished grieving (see #1). Parissa had a severe pain in her left shoulder which shot up her neck and down her arm. It took some whimpering but finally she asked me to find the source. No, wasn’t in her neck or shoulder… the pain originated in her back. Deal with the yuck, admit you might need a little help to find the real issue, then head on to get the solution.
6. Talk it out
Your echo chamber can have lovely acoustics but sadly isn’t an objective listener. Neither are you: telling yourself how miserable you are over and over doesn’t get you to where you need to go. Pick up the phone and call your friend, parents, sibling, adviser or whomever your person is that’s effective in getting you to see your true north. Trust us… this always helps!
7. Throw out the head trash
We’re our own worst enemy. When faced with self-doubt, we can quickly turn into Debbie Downer. As you take the time to incorporate items 1, 5 and 6, visualize grabbing some huge industrial garbage bags, stuffing those nasty bits in there – and throwing out the negative thoughts in your head!
8. Remember you have other interests
We all know these are uncommonly bad economic times and we feel chained to our jobs and businesses; fear and insecurity are seemingly everywhere. When these negatives creep in, Parissa remembers how much she loves cooking during high stress moments – and then completely loses herself in the task. She shuts off completely and starts chopping. This diversion of passion makes her feel infinitely better (and, hey, we needed to eat anyway!)
9. Karma is a boomerang
If you’re stuck with no hope of a resolution in site, think about helping others. Get lost in other people’s projects, interests and challenges. See what occupies their minds and offer to help. Since you’ve no skin in the game, your creative juices will flow a lot quicker and… we promise you… you will get your mojo back!
10. Have some ice cream
Okay, especially for all our lactose intolerant friends, we do not mean literally “ice cream” but whatever reward you want to give yourself: coffee, M&Ms, carrots, apples, etc. This is more an act of acknowledging how hard you work, how much you’re dedicated to the cause, etc. If you never recognize your efforts on the road to success – and occasionally celebrate with the Rocky Road facsimile of your choice – you may not appreciate the success quite as much.
I love Todd Terry, a DJ who pretty much made his nightlife when he lived in the UK (if it surprises you to hear I have rhythm, ask Parissa for a peek at our wedding DVD… impressive stuff). More to the point: when you dance, you find your joy, even if it’s just a little of the Cha Cha Slide on the kitchen floor, the break room or at a wedding.
12. Rinse and repeat
Sometimes, we need a do over. The first time we break through our blocks doesn’t seem to stick – some challenges are doozies. Don’t give up; just go at it from a different route. If you’ve ever known someone or lived in Chicago, where our traffic is notoriously bad, you know they can always give you at least 5 different ways to get somewhere. Take this same approach: have a back-up plan to get where you need to go.
So, friends, that was our list of the weird ways we like to get creatively unstuck. What’s been your best bet to break out of the rut, to get those juices flowing again? Please share below and, if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share with friends.