Getting out of a creative rut
I wrote this a couple of years ago, but it’s still just as true today.
I have a little confession to make. Growing up, I’ve never felt like I was creative in any way. I think it’s pretty fair to say my creative outlet started and finished at making handmade birthday cards for my Mama, and even that had to be encouraged. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that I didn’t enjoy creative activities – I just wasn’t good at any of them. I couldn’t draw or paint, I couldn’t play an instrument. As I’m writing this, I just remembered, that when I was very young, I took dance classes. I soon had to give that up because I couldn’t find a partner (not many boys want to do the waltz at the age of 7, believe it or not!).
So, apart from my little romance with dance, I was certain that I wasn’t a creative person. Until I found photography, that is. My first attempts were pretty shocking but I was hooked. It became such a big part of my life. Just as having your first child shows you a completely new world that you never knew existed, photography managed to open doors to the creative world for me and I never want to look back.
With creativity, comes a burden. The constant doubt and comparing yourself to others. But it also provides that buzz, the elation when a project comes together, and you know you’ve reached the next level in your pursuit.
For all those dark days, when you feel like nothing you create is good enough, here are my three tips to getting out of a creative rut.
1. WORK THROUGH IT
Sometimes, when I’m having a bad day, I just let myself have a bad day, but I always try to work through it the next day. Step outside of your comfort zone, and try something new. I generally don’t like being in front of the camera, so I would force myself to take a self-portrait. Break up your routine and you might just learn something new.
2. FOLLOW OTHER CREATIVE INTERESTS
My husband recently gave me a lovely gift in the form of watercolour paints. I’ve always wanted to try some watercolour fun, and even though I really, really can’t paint, I enjoyed it so much. Time seemed to slow down and I could focus on enjoying that simple act of trying something new. So go out there and find something that grabs your interest. If you’re not sure where to start, YouTube is full of fun little tutorials to get you going.
3. TAKE A STEP BACK
Sometimes, the only remedy is to take some time out. I think about photography every single day, and it can become a little overwhelming. I feel like I constantly have to move forward, but sometimes it’s okay to take a step back.
Go away, if you can. Travel can be so inspirational and will give you some room to breathe. If travelling is not an option, plan some exciting days out, or maybe evenings spent with friends, where you can stop focusing on your creative pursuits, but instead, focus on yourself, on living life in the moment.
Do you have any tried and tested ways to get out of a creative rut? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear your story.