By Paige Ort
There is nothing more frustrating than wanting to create something but not having the motivation to start. Everyone falls victim to creator’s block. For example, you are staring at a blank page, trying to come up with words to write, and yet none come out. This barrier only becomes stronger as you become more anxious about how and when, if ever, you will get your inspiration back.
If this sounds like what you are going through now, you are not alone. Across the world, we are experiencing an unprecedented low in creativity. We have been in the midst of a global crisis for almost two years now. Many people have been impacted by a loss of employment as a result, and finding work is far from easy. The future in general is uncertain. None of these factors add up to anyone feeling their most inspired.
It is a somewhat common belief that troubling times inspire this great burst of creativity. This is not true. You are never more inhibited and drained than when you are under great stress, because it reduces your ability to function or even put two thoughts together. This is why you cannot force creation by shaming yourself into it. You will only become more frustrated and discouraged if you do this, and you will slip into stagnation. Your headspace is essential to creativity. That is why sometimes you must step away from a project to work on it again.
Do something unrelated but stimulating. If you’re wondering what to do, first just get up and stretch for a few minutes. If you can, go outside for some fresh air. Sometimes a change in scenery can make all of the difference. Maybe you need to move your workspace. Think about the environment you are in. Does it need a little sprucing up? There is a correlation between a clean environment and creativity. When a space is organized, you will have an easier time accessing your thoughts because you will know where everything is, and you will not have the distress of trying to find something important.
There is also a personal quality to what you need to get motivated. If there is something unconventional that helps you, do it. That could be listening to a song, watching a TV show that calms you, or doodling on a page to get the creative juices flowing. If something is essential to your creative process, keep it with you.
Keep in mind that this might not be an immediate fix to a lack of productivity. No one does their best every day. In fact, some days should be “lazy”. In fact, these are the most important ones because this is when you are recharging, which will allow you to be productive tomorrow.
In saying this, there will come a point that you must start. Accept that it will not be your best work if you have had a dry spell, but it will be something. Let’s say a writer has reached a point where they are unable to write, like my case. I started with an extremely small goal- just holding myself to writing 100 words per day. That felt inadequate compared to what I had done in the past, but I had to acknowledge that it was more than the zero I had written yesterday. By the end of the week, I had 700 words. By the end of the month, I had over 3000. If I never wrote more than 100 words per day again, that would still be thousands upon thousands of words.
To this day, I cannot say I am completely motivated, but what I can say is that I get out of bed every morning and get farther in my goals than I was at the day before, and even then, I do not always feel like I have done anything significant. However, when I look at the body of work over a lapse of time, a spark of motivation ignites in me, and then I can keep going.