Thoughts

How To Survive a Creative Slump

It's a new year and we are back baby! First thing on the agenda is getting back into our creative groove.

A slump, a plateau, a patch as dry as the banter at a Downing Street cheese and wine night if you will. I can’t be the only one that crawled to the end of 2021 entirely devoid of any creative inspiration. I had about as much creativity left in my brain as the UK had petrol back in September. I appreciate that this article reeks to high heaven of irony… taking advice about surviving a creative slump from a woman who hasn’t written an article for Sistem Magazine since 1978, but what better way to start the year than with a healthy dose of hypocrisy? Seriously though, what you’re about to read is not a one size fits all miracle cure to a creative slump. Instead see it as the most gentle nudge of all time in the direction of productivity.

My first tip is one I know you will have heard a million times but I’m going to remind you of just in case; location, location, location. Over the past two years we have counted floor tiles, watched dry paint get even drier and committed our wallpaper patterns to memory i.e. we’ve been in the same damn places for a long time.

In an ideal world we would pack our bags and jet off to a luxury resort to really get the creative juices flowing but there’s a list longer than my arm for why we can’t. So start small when it comes to relocation. I for one am going to make writing articles for Sistem Magazine an excuse to go on a tour of as many independent cafés and bakeries in London as possible. My motivation to write is entwined with my motivation to eat well, a real two birds one scone (or two) kind of situation. Or start even smaller, if you do your best work in the bedroom (oi, oi) then take a leaf out the fantastic Chantay Jay‘s book and get yourself a cosy little bed desk set up. Never underestimate the power of a scenery change!

If you’re anything like me then this one is going to be tricky because gorgeous gorgeous girls love self doubt. We really do. And this helps absolutely no one when it comes to getting the best out of ourselves creatively. So we’re going to go easy on ourselves this year. Take some time out and make a list of all the things that bring you creative satisfaction, things that you know you are brilliant at, things you’re not brilliant at YET but are keen to improve, things that make you feel content and at peace. Take myself, I know that I like to get my thoughts on to a page… so why have I been avoiding doing exactly that for the last few months? That bitchy little voice in my head that has somehow managed to convince me that not a single soul will care. Well you made it this far through the article so that’s 1-0 to me!

The sooner you remember your sauce the sooner the journey towards creativity will stop feeling like an uphill battle.

I’m reluctant to include this next one on my list because it makes me clam up and panic and I get flashbacks to my GCSEs, A-Levels and degree spending three days making revision schedules only to be too exhausted by the process and revising for about three minutes. But, my friend, organisation is kind of important. There is no need for highlighters and scheduled wee breaks but some kind of framework just so you can streamline your creative energy in a way that doesn’t have it spilling all over the gaff. A rough idea of how many articles, videos, photos *insert side hustle here* you’d like to produce per week or per month. Enough so you feel fantastic when you meet your goals but not too many that you beat yourself up when you take your eye off the ball.

Finally, an oldie but a goodie: it’s not by force. If you don’t find your creative mojo this week that is ok. If you don’t find it next month either, that is ok too. It will return and maybe when you least expect it. Trust me, if you had told me this time two weeks ago that I’d be writing an article about how survive a creative slump I’d have paused the Eastenders Christmas special, put down my fourth glass of red wine and laughed in your face. In fact part of me is still quietly chuckling at the fact that for the past 700 words I’ve sounded like I’ve had my sh*t together.

Please share your tips for surviving a creative slump below and we can be each other’s inspiration!

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