Some days creativity comes easier than others. It’s always nice when the stream is flowing and the words and colors and ideas are coming, but we all know it doesn’t last forever. Sometimes you don’t feel creative. Sometimes, you might even wonder if you’ll ever feel that way again.
When I was in high school, I focused all my spare energy on writing novels. I wrote and wrote and wrote; hundreds of thousands of words. And at first it was easy. But there came a time, shortly after I graduated when I stopped writing almost altogether. It was like the spark of passion I’d had had gone out.
Naturally, I was frustrated. I felt like a failure; a fraud. It was like my creativity was gone. I couldn’t write anymore, and I definitely couldn’t write anything good. It was almost two years before I even started thinking about writing fiction again.
Looking back now, as discouraging as that time was, it taught me several things about embracing my creative identity, and I think I may have found a way to fall in love again.
5 Tips to Help you Fall in Love with Creativity Again
TIP #1: STOP CATERING
Shortly after we started dating, Sam told me something I’ll never forget. In the midst of my frustration and angst over my apparent loss of creativity, he said, “It’s because you’ve stopped caring.”
That sounded ridiculous, because I thought I cared a whole lot. “What do you mean?” I asked. And he answered, “You care too much about what other people think, and not enough about what you love.”
And it was true. I’d been so focused on creating stories that catered to others’ preferences that it killed the part I loved: freedom. If you’re feeling “uncreative”, maybe it’s time to think about who you’re doing this for. Stop catering to others and just enjoy.
TIP #2: LET GO OF EXPECTATIONS
Often, we creatives have a perfectionist attitude. We demand high performance from ourselves, and try to meet impossible standards. We compare ourselves and our work to others, and raise expectations that cause us to lose our enjoyment of the creative process.
Stop focusing on creating things simply to “measure up” or to make a profit. That mindset puts a strain on your creativity. Instead, give yourself permission to relax. Remove the pressure to impress, and just have fun.
TIP #3: GET OUT INTO THE WORLD
If you’re feeling out of touch with your creativity, chances are your creative juices are stale. If you’ve been isolated too long, maybe it’s time to get outside. Find something to stimulate your mind.
Exploration and curiosity are the parents of creativity, so use them. Free yourself to wonder, to explore, to seek ideas. If you don’t, you’ll never find them. In order to fall in love with creativity, you must stimulate it over and over. Foster and nourish it; don’t neglect it.
TIP #4: STOP TRYING TO “FIT IN”
We have a lot of preconceived notions about what makes a person “creative”, and sometimes those ideas keep us from embracing our own creative identity. We try to cram ourselves into a box that wasn’t meant for us.
Instead of trying to “fit in”, it’s time for you to stand out. Be free. It’s okay to be different than expected. It’s okay to live out of the box. Because when you do, the pressure to conform subsides, and you’ll find yourself falling in love with the simple act of creating with no strings attached.
TIP #5: BE INTENTIONAL WITH YOUR FREE TIME
We have a habit of allowing our free time to be sucked down the black hole of aimlessness; surfing the internet out of boredom, and scrolling through endless streams of social media. If you want to fall in love with creativity, stop letting purposeless things take priority over it.
Instead, when you have free time, be intentional about where you spend it. Do that thing you’ve been meaning to do, but have never gotten around to. Write that book opening, sketch that character, or simply sit back and give yourself time to wonder. If you want to fall in love with something, you need to make it a priority.
Today I want to challenge you to fall in love with creativity. For now, focus on just one or two of these tips and see what you can do to reignite your passion for your work. You may just stumble across some of your best ideas yet!
- Have you been feeling drained of creativity lately?
- What are some things you’ve done to reignite the flames of creativity after they’ve burned down?