The Calculated Creative

8 Simple Ways to Break Your Creative Rut

There’s ways you can go about getting yourself out. And they’re not as difficult as you might think.

There’s nothing worse than reaching newly found creative heights.

Only to plummet, at the snap of a finger, into the worst rut you’ve ever experienced.

And feeling like you’ll never be able to dig yourself out.

Will I ever get back to that place of inspiration?

Was I just lucky to have been there for the few moments I had?

Spiraling into negative thoughts that only work to reinforce your current state.

But there’s ways you can go about getting yourself out of that rut.

And they’re not as difficult as you might think.

Here’s 8 simple ways you can go about riding the inspirational rollercoaster back to the top:

1. Small Steps

Instead of trying to jump full speed back into a large project, try something smaller.

Break the steps down into smaller and smaller pieces.

Until they’re small enough that you can start to check them off your list.

Giving you that tiny bit of momentum you need to get back at it.

2. New Scenery

Take a new road to work.

Go to a different grocery store.

Or even plan a day or two in a new city.

It doesn’t have to be big…

But even a small change in your environment can help to kickstart your senses.

3. Lower the Stakes

Take the pressure off.

Look at the next project as a process to be enjoyed.

Instead of the next masterpiece that has yet to be created.

4. Invite an Audience

Show somebody else what you’re working on.

Sometimes the simple act of externalizing it can get you out of your own head.

5. Change the Context

Maybe the story needs to shift slightly.

Maybe the target audience becomes more niche.

The more you can do to become more clear on the purpose the easier the work can get.

6. Alter the Perspective

Look at the work through different eyes.

Pretend you’re someone else viewing it for the first time.

Mock up the work in a different situation.

Question it’s intended placement.

The more you can change the angle with which you’re looking at the work the easier it becomes to see tangible next steps.

7. Add Other Senses

If it’s a piece of visual work, what would it be like if you added sound?

If it’s writing, what would it be like if you added more visuals?

As other senses get involved a broader picture will begin to emerge.

8. Limit the Constraints

Too much creative freedom can be a bad thing.

Even if it’s artificial, give yourself more guardrails to work within.

Sometimes the simple constraint of choice can lead to more creative thinking.

How this is relevant for a:

Freelancer — You either have too many projects to handle at once, or none at all. By using a few of these tactics you can begin to more easily find your next gig OR better work through the ones you currently have.

Full-timer — Office environments and complicated org structures can suck the fun out of any creative pursuit. Use different tools in your kit to bring yourself up and out of the lows.

Dabbler — With so many different potential paths in front of you it can be hard to know how to continue moving forward. Use these methods to open new doors.

The Takeaway

Creative ruts can come out of nowhere.

And can be some of the most difficult periods to work through.

But you’re not alone.

And there’s a toolkit at your disposal to help you more easily transition out of the difficult times.

New structure = new ways forward.

Make Your Work
Suck Less

Pulling back the curtain on the creative process to help make your work a little less terrible. A 3-minute read delivered each week on Monday morning.

The Calculated Creative

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