Half of my podcast episodes seem to come to me at the last minute, but that’s totally fine. I’ve been having a lot of conversations recently about losing and trying to gain your creative spark back, so I thought I would take a crack at giving my own opinion on it. I think this is something creatives don’t talk enough about because as great as it looks on paper, the process is never perfect and neither are we.
Keep reading if you want to learn about some ways to regain that creative spark back.
The audio version of this post will be available on my Patreon (Become a Patron!) on Thursday and available everywhere on Friday. While you wait, make sure to tune into my previous ones.
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Let’s get into it, shall we!
Try To Keep Going
I don’t always recommend this if you’re drained of all creativity or you’re burned out, but sometimes self-doubt is the one sucking that spark out of you. Maybe you think your writing isn’t as good as you thought it was or you start being overly self-critical of your work that you choose to give up and stop being creative.
I actually brought this up in my recent podcast episode about my writing process:
The only way to really get through self-doubt is to turn it off and ignore it. It’s a part of the process, but it starts becoming a problem when you let it hold you back. Maybe that means having to write nonsense for a while or forcing yourself not to edit your work (writing sprints are great for this), but the faster you learn how to manage any negative chatter going in your brain, the better.
I feel like our biggest bully is always going to be us, but you wouldn’t take that treatment from a stranger, so why are you taking it from yourself? I know it’s easier said than done, but if you think about it in those terms it makes it easier to crack down on. And I’m not going to say I’m perfect because I’m not, but I do want to try to do better with that because I’m starting to see how it’s blocking my blessings as I continue to build a career for myself.
And if no one told you today, your writing matters, and as tough as it can seem some days, you are not your thoughts, so don’t let them control you.
Feed Your Creative Soul
Now, if crippling self-doubt isn’t the issue, then your creative soul might be starving.
In order to write or create some form of art effectively, you have to pay attention to the world. And you can’t do that if you’re holed up in your room or only seeking inspiration from media (i.e. TV shows, books, etc.) As helpful as they are, it’s important to gain real-world experience so that your art can reflect that.
So don’t think you’re failing because you aren’t actually creating some tangible. Creating requires you to step outside every once in a while. So go on that hike and pay attention to how the trees curve or memorize the view from the mountain top. Go to the store and watch how people interact with each other or what they look like. Maybe they might become a new character or inspiration for an art piece.
I was actually having this conversation with my mom a couple days ago because I (unfortunately) work in customer service so I’m always around people. And most of you guys know that I have a slight form of social anxiety so it’s a feat for me to deal with people, especially rude customers. But my mom suggested that I not only take the process like a game (so I can get less angry at people trying me cause chile…) but I should also pay attention to the people I come across and make a story just from their appearance. So I started writing down little things about them that I can use later on. For example, I actually saw a lady the other day with a glass eye and I thought that was pretty cool.
There was also another time a year ago when I was going to the mall with my friends and I saw this black woman in a suit, smoking a cigarette. To most people, that probably wouldn’t have mattered. But to me, she caught my eye enough for me to write down what she looked like, stance and all. One day it’s going to make it into a book because I actually took that second to survey the world instead of distracting myself with my phone or other conversations.
I would also suggest changing environments! Go write at that coffee shop down the street or at a restaurant. I know when I still lived near my college campus, I loved going to this one coffee shop down the street. It was such a vibe and they had great food too. I always got a lot of homework and writing done and it just made me feel good to get out of my bedroom for a while.
Don’t Let Capitalism F**K You Up
I’ve spoken before about how much I hate capitalism, so this shouldn’t come as a surprise to any of y’all.
This is part of the conversation I was having with one of my friends yesterday and I was telling him that we get so caught up in profiting from our creativity that we stifle it. I actually talked about this months ago in a podcast episode so I find it interesting that it’s coming back up.
It’s important to remember that your creativity doesn’t exist solely for you to make money off of it. That would be nice and everything, but that’s exactly how people get burned out and lose that spark that turned them into an artist in the first place.
Do a project that’s just for you. Remember what it’s like to experiment and have fun with a creative pursuit or writing project. Throw caution to the wind and just do what you want without expecting anything monetary in return. Capitalism shouldn’t keep ruining things that make us happy.
I actually have this exact same issue right now, but with my candles. As you all know, I do own a business, but honestly, I haven’t really touched it or promoted it in a couple months. I’ve made excuses. Said ‘oh it’s school’ or ‘oh it’s work’ when in reality that’s not the case. Clearly, I have time to write and record this podcast every week so I should still have time to build on my brand. So what’s the issue?
I lost my creative spark.
I walk into it and I don’t get any joy from it. I’m constantly chasing monetary glory and recognition that something that was once fun, became a job. It became a chore. It became a black hole that I feel guilty about not doing something with. I stopped taking the time to be creative with it because I let this idea of “hustling” stifle me.
I want to get back to it and rediscover that love for it again, but that’s only going to happen when I let go of any expectations and just have fun.
So, to make a long story short, don’t let capitalism fuck you up. It’s not worth it.
Remember Your Why
This was the second part of the conversation I was having with my friend the other day and to make a long story short, he felt like he was starting to his creative spark. His was more gradual and he couldn’t understand where it came from because it’s not like he hates to write anymore, but it just lost its purpose for lack of a better word.
And my response to anyone else feeling like this is to remember your why, hence the title. Most of us didn’t choose the creative path because we sought out some form of success. Yes, the idea of that was great, but that was never the driving force. Most of us went into this because we had something to say or it was a safe place to express ourselves. Which is why it was fun. There were no expectations because we were just doing it because we wanted to, not because we were trying to get recognized for it or gain monetary rewards.
I know I walked into writing with the intent to create something that would help someone else and myself. I was going through a lot at the time (all trivial problems now, but they were huge back then) and writing was my only outlet. And I wanted to build a safe space for other people through my writing, just like others did for me without even realizing it.
So finding that spark requires you to go back to your roots. To go back to that main question that every creative gets asked at least once: why do you do it?
I promise you most of your answers won’t involve success or money.
They’re Just A Little Late
Before I even jump into this amazing quote, I have to credit the person who said it. This is such a great video to watch (along with the rest of his channel) so make sure to give it a listen.
He said quite a bit that I actually didn’t include in this post, but the one thing that stuck out to me the most was when he was speaking about divine timing.
I’m sure that most of us dream of being able to live full-time off of our art (even though it can be a double-edged sword sometimes) and we get discouraged when it’s taking longer than we want. We might compare ourselves to those who are already there and wonder what we have to do more of. Sometimes we might be doing the exact same thing and we’re not receiving the same rewards as someone else. And that can be frustrating but the truth is, it might not be your time. Maybe your tribe is just a little late to the party.
The right people will find you when they’re supposed to and everything you’re doing is just propelling you towards being able to handle that success when it comes your way. So just build and have fun with your creativity and don’t worry about what’s going to happen next. You’re on this path for a reason, even if you don’t understand it quite yet.
Spill Your Guts
Sometimes talking it out with other people might ignite that creativity again.
Maybe you reach out to a friend or a family member that you trust and they can provide you with a different perspective that you wouldn’t have considered before. I think we can get caught up in our own heads sometimes that we manage to miss the solution that’s right in front of us.
It’s even better if you’re talking to someone who’s also a creator because sometimes you can toss ideas around or compare struggles so you feel less alone. Having a community can be extremely healing, so I would suggest finding groups or connecting with people (online or in person) that you can chat with. Being a creator doesn’t have to be a lonely process as long as you don’t make it one.
For example, the friend I’ve been bringing up is actually a self-published author too. This is probably the first friend I’ve had in a long time that writes and self-publishes books so we both compare ideas and brainstorm and he’s been helping me network more. Plus we can compare writing struggles, which is nice because I’ve never really had people that I could talk to about that. The crazy part is, that we met online a couple weeks ago because I took a leap of faith and reached out to him.
CHECK HIM OUT ON IG: @omniwrites
Shut It Down, Take A Break
And sometimes, even despite your best efforts, maybe the spark isn’t coming back at all.
In that case, it might be healthy to take a break from the project you’re working on or take a break from creating at all. Not forever, but just until you can re-evaluate what you want to do and figure out the steps you need to take in order to bring that joy back.
I know I’ve mentioned Four Pink Walls in the past, but I’ve actually taken a break from it. don’t know how long of a break it’s going to be, but I just needed to step away from it. That spark wasn’t there and I wasn’t really excited to write it like used to be, so I moved on to another project that was calling my name. And you know what, I’m having so much fun with it! It helped ignite that creative spark that I was missing with writing and I’m starting to remember how much joy I used to have when creating stories.
So if you want to keep up with the story (because I usually post updates about it pretty consistently) then you can follow me on Instagram @kaethewriter.
I hope this helped you guys figure out If you feel like you’re losing your creative spark, I hope these tips help you regain it back.
And if there’s anything I missed, or you want to share your own tip, comment down below!
Until next time!
-The Writer Chick