Rediscovering your creativity

Creative slumps can be a drain on our mental health & even our freelancing. Check out some of our tips for getting out of them & rediscovering your creativity.
Rediscovering your creativity

Hero image by Isha Gaines

Have you ever struggled to call yourself a creative? The word sounds so romantic. “I’m a creative” sounds like something a beat poet would utter while drinking a cappuccino at Café Wah? in NYC. I personally struggle to call myself a creative when I don’t have the capacity to write, listen to music, or do photography like I have been able to in the past.

How are we supposed to reignite our creative spark when our lives are consumed by work (even if it’s work we love), relationships, responsibilities, and distractions? First, we have to remember that our creativity is what can ground us, inspire us, and propel us forward while we carry the chaos of everyday life. If you’re someone who has felt disconnected from your creative side lately, check out some of our tips and ideas for rediscovering your creativity!

Identify what might be muffling your creativity 

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and push your creativity out of the spotlight of your life (I really want to make a Dirty Dancing joke here but for your sake I will refrain). When our creativity becomes less of a priority in our lives, we have to ask ourselves, “What am I prioritizing over my own creative expression? Why have I disengaged from creating to just create?”.

It’s entirely possible that you’ve let your self-doubt or Imposter Syndrome convince you that creating anything is just pointless. This feeling of pointlessness can be increased when that evil worm of comparison takes up residence in your mind too. You may have started to look at other people who create in the same way you do and started to consistently believe that they are better than you at your own game; so why bother? It’s also possible that you are just in a season where creativity can’t be your priority like it has in the past and that is okay. Each of these things will take time and patience to work through, but, when we take the time to call them out and see why they are present in our lives we will grow. And who knows? Maybe we will be able to get back to being the creative we always have been or wanted to be. When we identify what might be muffling or causing us to stiff-arm our creativity, we can come up with a strategy to reengage and make it the light in our life once again. 

Reconnect with the creative endeavors that make you feel whole

Once we have taken the time to look into what’s causing us to ignore our creativity, we have the opportunity to reconnect with our creative endeavors. What made you light up in the past? What made you look at the world from a new, positive perspective? Dip your toes back into those waters and just sit with how it feels. Don’t pressure yourself into diving into a giant project. Maybe spend 15-20 minutes a day writing poetry, listening to music, playing your favorite instrument, taking photos, etc.

This part of the process is about getting to know your creative side again, nurturing them, not criticizing them or instantly making them go hard in the paint (literally if you’re a painter…). And if reconnecting with your creativity is beyond your current capacity because of the season of life you are in (hello parenthood, school, mental health challenges, etc.) don’t beat yourself up for needing more time to jump back in. This is a healing and growing process so it’s okay for it to take time.  

Detox from social media

I know, I know, “Take a break from social media” is a dreaded phrase, especially for freelancers who need social media to grow their client base, but hear me out! Social media is absolutely one of the best tools for your freelance work. It helps you make connections and sometimes even find inspiration and refine your craft! But if you are in a state of creative apathy, it can also be your worst enemy and an ally of your self-doubt/Imposter Syndrome. 

When I am personally in a healthy headspace and feeling inspired by everything in my life I look to social media for more inspiration and tips to improve my creative process. When I am in a negative headspace, however, social media becomes the inspiration behind troll thoughts like “why do I even bother taking photos?” or “I’m not a real writer like these other people I follow”.

It’s hard to focus on engaging with and loving what we create when we are constantly being inundated with everyone else’s projects, goals, and creations.

To detox from social media is to focus on our own growth and passions. When we take a step back (even if just for one week!) from the window of social media we increase our capacity to fall back in love with our unique creativity. 

Try something new

When was the last time you tried something new in pursuit of your creative well-being? It’s so easy for us to get stuck in the echo-chamber of our own creativity and forget about what the creative journey actually looks like. When we step outside of that chamber and try something new, we are telling ourselves three important things: 

  1. It’s okay if I totally suck at this
  2. I am allowed to get out of my comfort zone and try new things
  3. Creativity is a vast and fully accessible world that I am allowed to discover over time

Trying something new creatively might be terrifying for you! Or it might be freeing. No matter what, remember that trying something new just might help you fall back in love with the familiar and draw you back into the type of creativity that used to inspire you. It’s also entirely possible that you might find a new passion, one that fits better for the season of life you are in! So, take a writing workshop for the first time, attend an open mic (either as a performer or as an audience member), draw with no expectations to be perfect, take a photo everyday of something that inspires you. Engaging in a new creative endeavor brings breath back into the lungs of our creative selves. <tweet-link>Trying something new is scary, but it is also in line with creative freedom and inspiration.<tweet-link>

Let go of expectations and just create

At the end of the day, with the above tips pushed aside for a moment, what you really need to do is just let go and create. You don’t have to set a certain number of times that you must create during the week. You also don’t have to share what you are creating. A good friend of mine who creates beautiful illustrations, Hannah Slay, told me about how she was finally able to break out of her creative slump when she was reminded that she can (and should) create art for herself first. So, let go of the hustle. Take your inner child by the hand and just let them CREATE. At the end of the day, what you create is mostly likely meant for you first. Maybe you share it with the world, but doing so is not required. <tweet-link>Let your creativity live and breathe in the world for a moment before you throw it out or judge it.<tweet-link> 

No matter what steps you take to rediscover your creativity, always know that you are allowed to embrace what used to make you light up inside. You are allowed to share old projects and keep new ones all to yourself. You are not an imposter. Your self-doubt is a liar and a thief. Once you have reminded yourself of what creativity means to you, you just might remember the power and positive influence it can have on helping you function as a human every day. 

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Marissa Morrow
Marissa Morrow
Marissa Morrow is a Colorado native who loves all things poetry, photography and music. Currently a full time staff member with Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Marissa spends her off time doing photoshoots with her husband for their photography business, Morrow Manor Photography, and hanging out with their two cats. Marissa has been writing ever since she was young and finds storytelling in the form of poetry and photography to be one of the best forms of therapy. As a former advocate for victims of domestic violence she is passionate about social justice issues, self-care, and inspiring others with her art.
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