It happens to all of us. If you’re living with a disability or chronic illness, it may happen more often. Sometimes pain or fatigue or brain fog keep you from being in a creative frame of mind. Don’t blame yourself, and don’t get caught up in the belief that you’ll never be creative again.
Here are some of the things that have worked for me. Maybe they’ll help you too. I’m a writer, so adjust to whatever your creative love is.
The first recommendation is to set a time limit. I’ve had people suggest anywhere from 10-20 minutes. The amount doesn’t matter so much as the fact that you actually commit to a small block of time that fits within your attention span and/or energy level. Most of the time I’ve found that when I do that, I write longer than whatever time I’ve allotted. But writing in small time chunks is what got my mind going, so even if I had only worked for the amount of time I set myself, I would count that as a success. Some people say set an alarm to let you know the time is up–don’t write longer than the limit you set. You’ll be just that much more ready to work the next time. It’s up to you.
Focusing on one task at a time also helps concentration. If the TV or radio are likely to be a distraction, leave them turned off. If you need noise, and it won’t distract you, choose what you listen to carefully.
After you finish what you’re doing, give yourself a small treat. Positive reinforcement never hurts!
Michael Nobbs from Sustainable Creativity suggests doing less than you think you can rather than more than you think you can. This preserves your energy and makes what you are doing more sustainable. If you’re finding yourself exhausted after your sessions, make your chunks of time a little smaller for the next week. If not, you can increase the time.
Another thing that Michael and SARK suggest and that I wholeheartedly agree with is taking regular naps. It’s a life-saver, no doubt about it! Try to find ways to incorporate that into your schedule. Trust me, it may make a big difference if you wake up with a clear head.
I read avidly, probably excessively. I find people online that I admire and read their blogs. I interact on Facebook with people who encourage and uplift me. I check in with my writing group, which is housed on Facebook too. When I see what other people are doing, especially creative people, I find that I get excited and want to do something too. I’m learning not to be jealous, but to let others inspire me in a positive way.
Tonight’s post went much more slowly than usual. But I’m finding that sometimes that’s okay. Sometimes my thoughts need time to percolate and penetrate the fog so that I can express myself in coherent prose.
I hope at least part of this helps you. Give it time before you give up, because small steps will eventually show progress.