Running out of ideas? Me too.
Do you ever find yourself struggling to come up with the "next big idea" for a story, whether it be a film, book, play, or whichever medium you want to convey yourself through? I have this issue constantly. I will go to sit down and spend some good time writing but I will lack any sort of idea on where to start or where to go with what I have started and it is a daily struggle for me.
Here are some reasons and some tips I have found regarding this issue through my personal experience. First, I will discuss what seems to cause these periods of zero creativity.
1.) Boredom: This has probably been the single biggest story killer for me. When I am bored, I find it eerily difficult to even think about nearly anything because even that seems to be boring. When faced with a situation like this, it is likely due to a monotonous lifestyle that just goes on repeat everyday. A quick solution to this is to do something out of the ordinary. Take a quick trip somewhere you normally do not go to. If you have had an idea for something to do rattling in your head that you have been putting off but is not a usual task for you, go do it. Getting fresh experiences in our heads helps to push us and bring a bit of spark back into our lives.
For me, personally, I will try to take a trip out to a place of wildlife. Since nature is so chaotic and very rarely stagnant, it is a great way to refresh the brain (not to mention the fresh air and scents). Boredom does not always relate specifically to actions but sometimes to our senses as well. Getting new scents, tastes, sounds, or surface to touch can be that little detail that brings back our creative energy.
Environment also plays a key role in boredom. Having the same surroundings constantly invokes a sense of being caged in. This sort of situation causes us to shut down and feel trapped inside. Breaking out of that is a HUGE step in moving forward.
For the most part, breaking free of boredom boils down to basic self care that very few tend to focus on nowadays with our busy lifestyles.
2.) Exhaustion: Burnout is another great foe to deal with when attempting to be creative. Being worn out halts a lot of progress. When we are tired, much like with being bored, our normal creative functions tend to shut down and tell us to rest.
The best answer here is to listen to that. We are only human and rest is a natural part of our lives. To ignore that and try to push ourselves too far will produce more results immediately but in the long run we will get a lot less done. If you are feeling tired, go to bed. If you cannot focus on a script or a book much longer, take a break and go do something else for a while to refocus yourself. Spending too much time and energy on one single task can only lead to disaster.
3.) Stress: Having a full plate of scrambled brains is never a friend to any artist. Without clear thoughts, there is no way anyone would be able to have their next great piece. Relieving stress works differently for most individuals, however. Be sure to test out several different methods to find out what works best for you. In my case, taking a walk in nature, reading, and picking up a camera to shoot for me are some of things that relieve stress. A little something to keep the brain flowing but centralize focus is huge when it comes to moving past stress.
A lot of successful creatives also use meditation for this endeavor. Some will even go as far as to do this for hours on end to really isolate the problems within their lives and come up with ways to fix them or even simply to relax.
4.) Too much work: This idea ties in with the last point. Having too much work to get done might leave you with a feeling of being overwhelmed to the point you can just shut down and not get anything. Trying to multitask and do several projects at once will scramble our minds as well and leave us without a clear goal. If possible, it is best to finish one project before moving onto another. Too many times I have found myself working on a project and partway through I realize I still have another one to get done as well so I will switch to the other task and disorient myself. Sometimes when this happens, I will end up staring at a blank computer screen, not knowing what to do. Picking one project and seeing it to the end is likely the best choice in this situation.
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. I hope that it helped some of you in your creative journey! Keep on creating everyone!
See you all next week!