As I’m writing this, I am literally thinking, “Ugh, I don’t want to be writing this.” Do you ever just get bouts of not-wanting-to. As in, not wanting to do much of anything? Where it feels like that zest of life, that zeal for experiences and that love of exercising your creativity — just kind of vanish? Losing inspiration can be one of the worst feelings in the world, especially for creators, bloggers or content managers (yep, I’m all three. Double ugh.). How do you get it back? Is it always a bad thing, to lose your creative inspiration?
It may seem that way, especially when your livelihood depends on it. I’m a part-time content creator for small businesses, part-time blogger, and so when I am just not feeling it for days-on-end, it can really impact everything in my life. Not just my work, but my self-confidence, my self-esteem, and my motivation to grow my businesses. When this goes on for longer than just a few days, this really can start to hamper my good habits — and become a huge, difficult-to-repair detriment to my life.
And I’m sure many of you guys can relate to this, too. Even if you’re not a blogger, or even if you’re not one who’s constantly creating, we all find ourselves losing inspiration from time to time. Whether it’s inspiration for your work, your marriage, your family, your hobbies or just for yourself. It can take its toll, and it can begin to feel like a cycle that will never break.
Well, firstly, I am here to tell you something: you’re not alone. Seriously. It may seem like the world is waking up at 5:30 a.m. and being the most productive, creative go-getter that’s ever existed. But in reality, it isn’t, and chances are, most people will relate to you.
As many people who have gone through tough times can attest to, the low points in your life can help the high points feel that much more rewarding, fulfilling and deserved. So, yes, losing inspiration can be a positive thing. Here are some ideas to help you find that inspiration and passion again — even if it feels utterly lost.
Losing Inspiration: How to Get Your Mojo Back
1. Give yourself a break.
I mean that in two senses. Don’t be so hard on yourself: everyone goes through a period of losing inspiration in some way or another. Mine is almost always writer’s block! I think back to the two things that my wonderful, intelligent grandmother always used to say: “This too shall pass” (it will) and “(Insert name) — get a grip.” That last one always tickled me, but it’s something I’ve said to myself a number of times when things get overwhelming. I also remember how I’m not a work-a-holic and okay to just ‘do nothing’ sometimes — and that’s okay.
Also — literally — take a break. Do some deep breathing; go for a walk. Something that will clear your head and give yourself a chance to decompress.
2. Unplug, focus, and write.
Let me guess: are you in a constant state of flitting between one activity to the next, doing a quick flick through Instagram in the middle. A twitter check every few minutes. Email ping here and there, a half-assed attempt to go back to the thing you first started. The first and most important thing you need to do is: stop. Just stop. Technology is both a blessing and a curse, and the constant need to be plugged in can not only be overwhelming, it can have the adverse effect of making us not want to do anything.
The best gift we can give ourselves is to become unplugged. Shut off your email, and put your phone away or in another room. Only then can we focus on what truly matters: finding our creativity. Focus on one thing at a time (TomatoTimer is an insanely helpful tool for that). And, if you’re up for it, pick up a pen and paper and just begin writing. This can be a to-do list, a stream of consciousness, a plan of action or a diary entry. Anything to get your thoughts in order, your mind focused and your creative juices flowing.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others. Like seriously. Quit it.
This comparison-self-loathing-giving up cycle can be so detrimental. Not just to your work, but to your energy levels, your productivity and your mental health. We cannot trust everything we see on social media (see paragraph above about you are not alone), even if it may seem like others’ lives are perfect. I’m sure you’ve heard this all before, but it’s an important reminder. Pay attention to when those negative green-eyed thoughts bubble up, and try to squash them before they manifest.
And sure, other’s may seem like they’ve ‘made it,’ and yes, they probably are more successful than you. But so what? There is always room for another success story. Yours is in the making (okay, I’ll stop with the cheese).
4. Be inspired by yourself and by others around you.
Remember that time you reached a really great milestone, or that time you felt so good and inspired that you imagined it could never end? Go back to that point, whether it be by rereading old blog posts, looking at photos, searching your memories. Be inspired by what you have achieved, and remember that you have many years left to reach more milestones.
Another way I really get myself out of my ‘ruts’ is by looking at what other, inspiring people have written. Admittedly sometimes this leads to more comparisons (see point above). But often enough, I find ideas, inspiration and creativity by looking at my competitors and friends.
5. Seek inspiration from likely (and unlikely) places.
“When I expect inspiration to come to me, I inevitably find it.” A brilliant quote from author Cara Thomas about the power of thought and action. Similarly to the point above, often the world around us can bring about that long-lost creativity you’ve been seeking. Everything from a walk to a new area to trying out a new cafe for lunch. The most likely — and unlikely — places can spark creativity. So get out, try something new, and discover what works best for you.
For me, it’s a car ride. Time in a car, simply looking out the window, is when I write novels in my head. It’s the time and space to let my mind wander.
Save for later.
Can you guys relate to this? How do you find yourself again when you feel you’re losing inspiration? How do you stay motivated and creative?