It’s hard to say when, for sure, but at some point, the pandemic sapped a lot of people’s creative energy down to zero.
Sure, it was fine, at first. Going into lockdown was actually a pretty good excuse to finally focus on finishing that pilot script, dusting off the old camera equipment or re-tuning the guitar. For many of us, quarantine season helped us take a break and focus our creative attention on projects we’d been putting off.
But that was a long time ago. And now, as the Delta variant continues to mandate an ongoing season of COVID-19 caution, those creative reserves are getting mighty low. And honestly, you don’t even need to blame the pandemic. Writer’s block is as old as writing itself. It’s easy to get into an artistic slump. A “dry season,” if you will.
So if you’re feeling a little creatively uninspired right now, here are a few things to remember — and a few more things you can do to help jog your artistic impulses.
Remember That This Is All Part of the Creative Process
Nobody is creative all the time. We all have seasons of output and input. If you’re struggling with output, that might just mean you’re in a zone where your creative process will be better helped by input. Listen to it. Get your hands on some new music. Watch a movie you’ve been meaning to see. Tackle your “to read” pile. Nothing will help inspire you to get back to creating art like experiencing the art of others.
Remember That You Can Still Work, Even If You’re Not Feeling Inspired
Sometimes, being creative is a thrill — a faucet that you can’t turn off. Other times, it’s real work. If you’re in a dry season, being creative might feel like work but the thing about work is, you have to do it even when you don’t feel like it. Don’t be afraid to just sit down and be creative even when you’re not feeling creative. Make it a discipline. Force yourself to write a hundred words, compose a single melody, edit five photographs — whatever. After all, if you’re in a desert, the worst thing you can do is stop walking.
Remember That You’re Not Alone
Art can be a lonely process, but none of it has to be in isolation. You should be talking to other people about what you’re working on, getting their feedback and (if invited) offering your own thoughts on their work. If you’re running up against an obstacle you can’t quite crack, bringing in an outside perspective could be the one weird trick to find a way through.
Remember That It’ll Be Done Someday
Sometimes, your creative slump might be sparked by the enormity of the project you’ve taken on. A feature film. A whole album. A house renovation. You can get so overwhelmed by everything you’ve got to do that starting seems exhausting.
But not starting is even more exhausting, trust us. When you start to feel intimidated into inaction, remember that it will be done someday, and the sooner you take the first step, the sooner that day will come. Focus on how good it’ll feel to have it all done. The sense of accomplishment. The dream come true. When the first step feels impossible, focus on how good it will feel to take final one, and get busy.
Remember to Rest
God’s creation of the world is definitely the most fruitful creative six-day period of all time and at the end of it, God took a break. Don’t assume you’ve got a more realistic work ethic than God. If you’re feeling creatively dry, one possible reason is that you’re going too hard on yourself. Take a break. Enjoy your weekend. Go for a walk. Let yourself recharge. You might be surprised at how easily the work comes when you get back to it after taking some time away.