On the struggles of being creative, and what I am doing to get out of my creative rut

Saying things have been rather quiet lately is the understatement of the year. Things are quiet at work and at home, since my boyfriend is currently traveling, and to be honest, I still don’t have the thriving social life I would hope for in Munich.

So I have been trying to put my free time to good use, and to do something productive with it: draw, write, paint.. ANYTHING. Problem is, my creativity isn’t really cooperating. I find myself staring at a blank piece of paper with zero ideas, or rather, with several ideas that I immediately categorize as “stupid” or “not worth it”. I then proceed to get extremely frustrated with myself, leave everything productive I was trying to do, and play on my phone while watching Grey’s Anatomy for 3 hours straight.

In order to protect myself from that beautiful cycle of procrastination and negative thoughts, these are the things I have been doing to try to get out of my creative rut.

1. Write every day

You are gonna see a pattern in all of these, and that is the “low pressure” factor. I find that in order for the creative juices to start to flow, I need to convince myself first that this doesn’t have to be the masterpiece of my life. I literally write anything (so far I have written diary entries, lists of things I could write about, beginnings of novels, blogposts…) and hope that writing will eventually become a more natural habit. I find it also calms my brain and is a good start of the creative process.

2. Doodling

Again on the subject of not taking things too seriously. Ditching the pencil and eraser, and facing the paper straight with my pen or markers, unafraid of making mistakes, is really working for me. I think of doodling with curiosity instead of expectations: I look forward to surprising myself with the results, and I am actively trying not to be disappointed when it doesn’t turn out as gorgeous as I would have hoped.

3. Calligraphy

This kinda combines the two points mentioned above. What I like about it is the fact that there is a “clearer” path to follow. You find the quote you want to write, and everything follows. I can concentrate on the technique of making the letters look beautiful, but it dones’t take as much creativity as drawing or painting, where you have literally zero guidelines, or “right” ways to do it. Add some small doodles around your quote at the end, and you got yourself a pretty aesthetically pleasing result.

4. Collage!

This is a big one for me. Mostly because the beginning of the process involves flipping through a bunch of old magazines and looking for figures and patterns that inspire me. I then proceed to cut out those images, and scatter them on the floor, to see which ones could work together. I play with them on what would be my canvas, and try out several different options before gluing anything down. Now, if I am being honest, I haven’t gotten to the gluing part yet. I have stared at the papers, tried different combinations and liked none of them. They don’t call it a creative rut for nothing, huh? But bare with me, I am hoping all the other things I am doing to be more creative will help me along the way, and I will have some collages to share soon.

And that’s it. Those are the things I am doing to fight this creative rut. I guess we will have to wait and see how effective they actually are.