A lot of people in the writing-focused Facebook groups have been saying they’re depressed and don’t feel like writing. They ask how to get their creativity back on track.
What I find a lot of times is that the advice one person gives wouldn’t necessarily work for that person. This is true a lot of times of the advice you get for all sorts of situations.
So, I came up with a list of different tactics you can try to get your creativity back on track:
- Take a walk, exercise, go outdoors in a natural environment, or go out and run errands. Movement can help spark your creativity.
- Take a hiatus. However long you need to take one before you’re itching to get back to the creative project. These hiatuses can last from a few hours to years. I took one for four years, from 2013 until 2017. The start of this blog was the project that kicked me back into motion and made me serious about writing again. That four-year break gave me a fire and a passion to not give up on my writing for that long ever again. I got so tired of not writing that I needed to write.
- Work on another creative task: baking, cake decorating, sewing, cross stitching, knitting, crocheting, draw, sketch, play an instrument, sing, redesign a website, use photoshop or graphic design software, or whatever you feel like doing. Often times, doing another creative activity can kickstart your creativity in other areas.
- Set an amount of time you will allow yourself to feel this way, then force yourself to get out of the slump. Don’t let it control you, but allow yourself time to sulk.
- Write down your fears and worries on a piece of paper, then rip it into tiny pieces and burn it (safely, outside in a cooking pan or something so you don’t burn down the house or neighborhood.) This can be very freeing and make you feel better and help you let go of these worries and fears.
- Force yourself to work on your creative activity for five minutes and five minutes only. Don’t count the time you spend thinking about your project or staring at a blank screen. Five minutes of actually working on it. If you don’t feel like continuing after those five minutes, you can stop, but force yourself for five minutes.
- Promise yourself a reward for reaching a goal related to the project. A chocolate bar for completing 1,000 words, if your creative project is writing, for example, can be an excellent motivator to keep you writing. Smaller rewards, like a square of chocolate for every 150 words could be more motivating, but they take discipline to enforce.
- Finally, work on a small project you know you can complete. If you have a sense of accomplishment, it increases your endorphins and can catapult you out of your depression. These projects can be anything, such as folding the laundry and putting it away by 5 p.m. or something similar. Anything that will give you a sense of completion.
I have used most of these at some point in time and some work better than others. The hiatus, although long, was really beneficial to up my motivation and commitment to writing.
I got so fed up with being afraid to write due to my mental illness and how the voices reacted to my writing that I just decided one day nine months ago that I would start writing again and try out coping methods to ignore what the voices were saying.
I found that drowning them out with music in headphones as I wrote under a blanket on my laptop with a cooling pad so it didn’t get overheated really helps.
The four years made me feel how terrible it was not to have a creative outlet. Now, if I don’t write almost every day I feel like something is off and I get restless and in a bad mood.
I hope this helps you get out of your depression and back into whatever creative project you are struggling with. What helps you get back into the swing of things?