Every once in while I reach a bit of a plateau in my creative life. I'm not as inspired as I usually am, and everything seems a little... blah. I write a page of text only to read it over and think "this is crap." I make myself go out and shoot, but I don't love any of the images. It all feels too familiar. I've shot in that spot before, taken that same picture of a very similar flower, the same shot of the ocean from a different beach. I just feel uninspired and discouraged. There is nothing new under the sun. So why as an artist do I even try to create something totally unique, I wonder.
Yes, I have been there over and over again. It is part of living the creative life, to get into a little funk every once in a while. As artists we are emotional and feeling and tend to overthink things. It is part of us.
There are ways to fight this though- even to use the rut to grow as an artist.
The answer is to do something. Keep writing. Keep creating. Grab a camera and leave the house. Create... even if you don't like the results right now. Keep moving. Try something different. Push yourself to experiment and learn. Maybe there is nothing new under the sun, but I guarantee that there will always be something that is completely new to you. Isn't that what matters?
Looking at everyone else, at what has been done before, can be fun (think Pinterest, Flickr, and blogs), but it can zap your creativity. The greatest inspiration will come from within yourself, not from the work of others. Comparing yourself to anyone else is the worst thing you can do for your own creative journey. I'm not saying to avoid looking at these things (trust me, I adore Pinterest), but it could be beneficial to limit the the you spend on them, especially if you begin to feel a little negative or stuck. Rather than seeking outward inspiration when you're in a creative rut, look within yourself, get away from your computer, and move forward- be active rather than passive.
Today I'm planning to force myself out of the little rut I've been in this week, and I'll be back soon to share the results.