Creativity Sapped? Try These 5 Things
For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
2 Timothy 1:7 NIV
When life hits hard, whether it be crisis, season change, or an artistic funk in which you find yourself, your capacity for producing anything remotely creative can seem miniscule. That’s exactly where I’ve been for the past few months. If I have a free moment, I’m not writing, but rather, digging into my selfcare bag to counteract the extreme stress life has divied out. All has not been lost. Creative bursts come, and I believe they can for you too.
Many activities labelled selfcare double as artistic practice. Check out these five creativity restoring activities and fill up your tank again.
Walk, A LOT
Movement increases bloodflow to the whole body (mind included). You release tension, jolt your endorphins, and jog your brain out of any ruts. Walk as much as possible. Seriously. It’s a powerful brainstorming and idea tool. Lately, I walk two or three times a day. Jot down the ideas you get in an ongoing list for when you do have a moment to get at your art again.
Spin the Muzak
Music is a healthy distraction. It lifts the soul and gives it a new groove. Five minutes is all it takes to make a playlist. Spotify and Pandora will even suggest songs and playlists automatically when you’ve got limited time. Music will keep you engaged with creative space indirectly. You might even find yourself dancing around the house and feeling more innovative before you know it!
Be a Disciple of Your Happy Place
Where do you go to find solace and joy? Perhaps a coffee shop with its bustling din and rich roasted aromas relaxes you. Maybe a bench at a local garden. An armchair by a window of your living room in the early AM. I drive to a lake five minutes from my house and sit on top of a picnic table by the water’s edge nearly every day at 3 p.m. I stare at the water, enjoy the breeze (when it decides to show up), and breathe. Being in your happy place is both discipline and celebration.
Pour Goodness into Your Soul
This one has two parts. #1 Good content. Media seethes with dumb stuff, but we can find places where truth and beauty overflow. What books, movies, shows, and media outlets inspire you to aspire to greatness? Try Googling “inspiring movies.” #2 is good people. Reach out to a friend who brings out your best. Get coffee in the artsy part of town. Walk through a gallery together. Go to the symphony. Goodness begets goodness.
Pray the Psalms
Reading a Psalm a day and then personalizing it into prayer is like being mentored by the “masters of master creatives”: God—of course—, David, Moses, and many great musicians, prophets, and leaders of ancient Israel. Their timeless, bru-tiful words show us how to be honest before God. They argue and doubt, rant and accuse, while still praising and honoring God (quite artfully and healthily, I might add.) Praying the Psalms helps us walk through the difficult passages of our lives with God. We hold eternal space and fellowship with our creative heritage, knowing we are not alone and we will get through this.
You Will Make Again
Creative slumps stink. They can suck joy, productivity, and even our sense of worth from us. No matter the reason we find ourselves here, we can choose to see beyond the roadblocks and realize they are opportunities for personal restoration. We can rummage in our backpacks and find the best tools for this time. A season is just that: a season. A designated period that will give way to something new.
When I was in a major creative slump years ago, a wise woman saw beyond the torrent of my tears and said, “You will write again.” God has not given you a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and “a sound mind,” as it reads in the New King James Version. I believe you will make again. Believe it too.