A week ago I was in a real funk. I was having a creative slump. Struggling to get going with anything with my writing. I was okay with the structured factual writing I was doing for my work, but the more personal and self-initiated writing just wouldn’t flow.
As any creative will tell you, this happens from time to time.
What is important is to have some techniques in your armour to climb back out of it.
Here are some tips collated from my experience and my LinkedIn network (you can see the post here).
Write in a different environment
A different room in your house, the coffee shop, the garden, on a bench in the park. Just change your environment, try to tune in to it and see what happens.
Get outdoors or do something you enjoy
Sometimes it is best to just totally switch tasks and distract yourself with a hobby or task that will make your mind switch tracks.
Listen to music
Really listen to it. Take in the lyrics, think about what they say and the emotions they bring to mind, consider how they make you feel and why you connect with them.
Whether writing or designing. Just do it. Write rubbish, doodle badly. Sometimes you just need to get the crap out of the way. You can always burn it if that helps.
Set a timer
You could also try setting yourself a timer, like in the Pomodoro technique. That way the pressure is removed as you know you only have to write for 20 minutes, or whatever time you choose. Then just write, and see what happens.
Split the task into small parts
Break the task down and focus on one small part at a time, or one part of the process. Even if in a writing slump, I can at least make a list of bullet points to flesh out later (as I did for this post).
Get back to pen and paper
If you often go straight to working up on the computer, try switching bak to pen and paper. It can be easier to just scribble and let your thoughts flow when writing or drawing by hand.
Reading can be a great inspiration, opening us up to new characters, places and times. A good non-fiction book can also provide us with things to reflect on, to action, to integrate into our life, skills to build and more. A great source of inspiration.
Use writing challenges
The 100 day writing challenge by Tim Clare is a great source, and there are any more out there. Challenges can arm you with writing prompts to get you going, step you out of your comfort zone, and give you a more structured writing habit.
Find out what works for other writers in your circle, or ask them for feedback on something you have written.
Take a break
If you have been going full steam ahead, it may be that you just need to take a break and let your brain recoup. This is most definitely what I needed to do!
If all of those fail, here is my favourite back up plan that was suggested:
Your writing won’t get any better, but at least you won’t care.