On Monday, I wrote about a couple artists discussing their self doubts.
Sometimes that self doubt can turn into something really bad: a full blown funk — even depression.
I think almost everybody who sets out to do something creative experiences it at some point.
At times, especially in the middle of a funk, it can seem like there’s not way out.
But there’s hope.
Here are 5 ways to get out of a creative funk.
Think About Other Funks
Chances are, you’ve been there before. Most of us have experienced a time when we’ve been so tired, beat up by everyday stresses, or down that we fall into a funk.
And most of us eventually got out of those unproductive times.
If you’re in a creative funk, remember that you’ve been there before and worked your way out.
What did you do in the past to get back to writing? Is it something you can do again to get back into the groove?
The earlier you realize you’re in a creative funk, the sooner you can remember that in the past, funks were a passing thing. When you do, you’ll be back to writing in no time.
Look at Something Beautiful
It’s easy to get down and think everything about the world is horrible. If you turn on the news, it seems like doom and despair lurk around every corner.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re safe — despite what the media and others tell you. That doesn’t stop the real suffering in the world that can be hard to forget, but the first steps to making any kind of change is taking care of yourself.
Get out and look at something beautiful if you’re in a funk. Take your kids to a park and just watch them having a blast; go to church during a quiet time; visit a museum in the middle of the week when you can spend more time looking at art and artifacts; pack a lunch and go for a day hike someplace beautiful by yourself or with a loved one.
Remember, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. For some, the energy of a mosh pit is cleansing; a walk through a rougher part of town may be the burst of energy they need to get back to writing.
And always remember this: what you write may be an escape for somebody in a funk — or maybe even cross over into the realm of a beautiful thing that changes the way somebody looks at life.
Take a Day Off
Call in sick and don’t tell anybody you’re home. Knock around town while everybody’s at work, or go someplace you always mean to go, but never visit.
Or stay home and clean.
Many times when you’re in a funk, papers pile up and responsibilities aren’t taken care of. Focus in half hour increments and get organized. Pay bills and clean. Get things back in order.
It’s easy to stay down when every time you try getting up you’re faced with so much to do.
Clearing all the things that weigh on your mind can not only help you get back to writing, but also feel alive and full of energy again!
Talk to Somebody
So many times we suffer through hard times alone when we don’t have to.
You may feel proud carrying the weight of your world on your shoulders, but eventually you’re going to drop it all (or at least never stand up straight again).
If you’re in a funk for a long time, talk to somebody. Tell a friend, “Hey, I’ve been feeling down, lately — can I take you out for a drink and talk…?”
Most people want to help others. Sure, there are always those people who — when you tell them you’re having a hard time — vent about how stressed they are and turn it into being all about them. But most of us have somebody close to us who will sit and listen and offer advice from the heart because they care about us.
If you don’t have somebody to talk to (or if you don’t want to feel like a burden to loved ones), talk to a professional. There’s no shame in getting help from a psychologist if you’re having a terrible time.
Many times, the way out of a creative funk is simply by talking about it.
If you feel worse after each time sitting down to write, or if you feel like it’s just too much to handle, walk away.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a break; there’s nothing wrong with deciding there are other things you’d rather do than be miserable because you feel bad about not being able to write.
If you still want to write, set a time when you’ll get back to it. Write down a date on a calendar when you’ll sit back down to write and work at fixing the things getting in the way and causing the funk in the meantime.
Sometimes the best way to get out of a creative funk is to simply take a break!