What do we do when the well runs dry?
Creating stuff on a set schedule is incredibly difficult. I’m writing this on the way back from a family reunion in Canada, and I had figured that I would have some sort of explosion of ideas and inspiration. But instead of sitting here staring blankly at a screen. As refreshing and beautiful as the trip was, I got nothin’ in terms of writing inspiration.
There are going to be days when our wells of creativity are going to reach low points. We’ll send a bucket down there, only to pull up an empty pail.
So what do we do when our wells run dry? We plow ahead.
We can’t just sit and wait for inspiration, we have to go and find it. Here are a few methods that I’ve found that can work wonders when it comes to sparking a bit of inspiration and stoking our creative fires.
Define the End
Oftentimes we just sit down without a defined ending in mind. The problem with this method is that it can be overwhelming. Not knowing boundaries can set an expectation that you only have to create when it feels good. Having the end goal in mind before you start can help with visualizing what’s needed in between.
Make a Stash
There’s no better feeling than having a reserve of a few posts to be able to draw from when inspiration is lacking. Creating a backup plan for when the inspiration won’t flow can be a lifesaver.
I have a stash of unpublished posts for “rainy days” when nothing seems to be working. I don’t know how many times that little cache has saved my bacon over the years. But even more interesting is how knowing I don’t always need to be creative takes a bit of the pressure off, which allows me to be more creative.
Admire Previous Successes
There’s nothing wrong with looking back through your accomplishments. Taking a walk through your greatest hits might be just the motivator needed for getting out of the doldrums. Slumps happen. The simple act of seeing how far you’ve come might be enough to trigger an idea or provide some form of inspiration.
Try Something New
Sometimes changing a tiny thing can make all the difference. What’s worked best for me is only changing one or two things at a time, but keeping the majority of the routine the same. Work locations, switching from coffee to tea, or some other deviation from the ordinary can work wonders.
The important thing is to just keep plugging away. Eventually the lightbulb will go off, the Muse will return, and all that. Until then, the real battle is to keep at it. To stay seated until you’ve hit your word count, or until you’ve designed the section you need.
There will be days when the well is dry. It’s not whether you can find creativity; it’s how you’ve prepared for it.
Photo by Rajesh Vijayarajan Photography
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