Wednesday 11 March 2015

How To Get Out of A Creative Rut: Writing & Blogging

3 tips for re-discovering your creative inspiration & getting your blogging mojo back

As I've mentioned previously, this year has been pretty barren on the blog front.

2015 - the year I heralded as being my YEAR OF MAKING IT HAPPEN - has kinda resulted in an anticlimactic flop of writers block, lack of motivation and a big ol' fall out with the internet that has found me in the absoloute pits of creative rut-tiness.

For any artist or creative whose life, universe and dreams revolve around the beauty of creation and expression, getting stuck in an inspiration-less rut is possibly the most frustrating and demoralising thing imaginable.

But it's not all doom and gloom.

After wallowing in pity and feeling sorry for myself for the last few months, a series of small events lead me to the bigger realisation that I was actually being pretty lame.

I believe that divine inspiration is not the right of anyone creatively-inclined, it's something you have to earn from hard work and grafting, like you're proving to the great gods of creativity that you deserve it. And you know, the moment I got off my butt and started organising, making plans and setting goals, lo and behold, that little glittering stream came steadily trickling back.

So this is how I came from the depths of self-pity to getting my blogging mojo in full flow again.

Firstly, it had become clear to me that I needed to disappear.

While having no motivation of my own, the internet was doing my absoloute head in with stupidly inane viral trends, the ceaseless chatter of people I didn't care about, and the shame of my own bitter envy watching others' succeed and flourish as I sat idle and diminished. 

I wrote all about that in this post here.

But the next step was a lot more proactive, and productive - WALL CHARTS.

For me, the need to write things down and make lists is as urgent and natural as needing to eat or go to the toilet. I genuinely feel this aching anxiety of these words building up inside me unless I can get to a pen and paper and just unleash.

So having these proactive plans in my head or online just wasn't good enough. I needed to write them, to see them and to read them every day when I woke in the morning and fell asleep at night. 

The first one, was to make an 'Ideas' board.

I'd always find myself coming up with ideas at the most inopportune moments - at work, in the shower, driving down the motorway - and would find myself frantically making voice notes on my phone or scribbling on random pieces of paper to make sure I didn't forget - only for them to inevitably get lost among the rest of the mess of lists and such in my room or the bottom of my bag.

To combat this I made the 'Ideas' board, so the moment I get home, I can lay out my notes and copy onto post-it notes whatever these ideas were and stick them up, never to be forgotten or lost.

And y'know, the moment I'd made it and popped up some ideas I already had in my head, just having it there as some kind of talisman seem to act as a catalyst and I found myself reaching for the post-its every hour or so as a new idea buzzed excitedly into my mind. By the end of just one day, I had a whole cluster of little notes up there. 

I also got to test out my art and typography skills a little, making a little motivational poster with my favourite illustration; a vintage ornate sun. 

'Be Art. Be Power.'

Gradually I found myself coming up with some resoloutions that I wanted to live by from now on - things that I thought were important not to forget to remain inspired and creating consistently.

Over some days I wrote down these tips when they came to me, and I soon realised I had a foolproof list of commandments that I wanted to always operate by in the future. 

So of course, I made them into a wall chart.

'Blogging Commandments'

(Let's all just ignore the little typo on the word 'broaden' *shakes fist at sky*)

'Reply' was the one that came to me first due to an upsetting comment I received on one of my posts last week. The comment was basically calling me out as being rude and inconsiderate for not replying to comments on my blog when they were so often lengthy essays from readers.

This really hit a nerve with me and I was overcome with guilt and horror that anyone would think that I didn't care about these comments or I didn't read them. I read every single comment I receive but since I went through a stage of being attacked by hundreds of spam comments a while back I deactivated email notifications. This often means I don't see these comments until a few days later, when I read them all and am overcome with joy and gratitude that I don't even know what to say apart from 'literally omg thank you so much' to every single one.

But this commenter was right - how do these people know I feel this way? They don't. So my first one is definitely to make sure every single person knows just how valued they and their contribution are.

'Dedicate' and only spending 1-2 hours of my day dedicated to planning and connecting is something so so important born out of my internet overwhelm. It's so important as an online creator to balance real life and cyber life, otherwise its so easy to lose control completely. There has to be an equal balance.

'Inspire'- inspiration is something fundamental to the heart of my blog, but when I get a little lost and disheartened, I always find myself unable to recall what inspires me. So I'm currently compiling a list of all the places I find inspiration, which will be up in a post soon!

'Commit' because how can we wish for our work to be appreciated when we do not appreciate others? Not even to gain exposure for ourselves, but I firmly believe in treat others' how you wish to be treated. Read, listen and share.

'Unfollow' was something that was difficult to put into practice at first. In this day and age, unfollowing seems like the absolute ultimate insult, but you just gotta think about the atmosphere of your cyber world. If someone is bringing you down or making you feel bad, with just one click, all that neg can be gone. 

And if they are a close friend, someone who you love in irl but can't stand online or someone you don't want them to think you hate them so you just can't unfollow, there's always the option to 'mute' them on Twitter, which Emma showed me recently and it's actually changed my life tbh.

'Celebrate'- The most important of all, letting other people know when you love what they're doing.This was inspired from the 'Cyber Sisterhood' I wrote about in January, powerful women celebrating other powerful women is infallible. 

And from just these three things I've come full circle, and I genuinely feel more inspired and empowered than ever. I'm super excited to start putting some of these plans into action, get creating important connect and seeing what the future holds for little Scarphelia.

Perhaps 2015 won't be such a write-off after all.

I hope these tips can help you find your way out of your creative darkness, or perhaps they're just rubbish haha but they sure helped me!

And I've also had the idea of making the 'Blogging Commandments' poster full size, customisable for your blogs and available to buy on etsy! This is a plan I'd love to put into action once I return from Iceland next week so if you'd be interested, let me know in the comments :)

Happy blogging wonderful creative humans.