How to rise from a creative slump
When it comes to effective social media, keeping it creative can give you the edge over the competition. Whether you are innovative with images or a careful caption crafter, I know you’ll have days where everything just flows… and others where you feel deep in a rut. I’ve been there – many times – so here are a few of my favourite ways to find that missing mojo.
Go for a walk
Never underestimate the power of taking a break and soaking up nature’s finest offerings. As well as the obvious health benefits of fresh air and exercise, some quiet time forest bathing or simply listening to the birds or the waves can work as a meditation. I know we don’t all have swathes of greenery or beaches on the doorstep, but even in the middle of a city it’s usually possible to find a spot in a park or by a river that takes you out of yourself. Giving your mind that unpressured quiet time to let your thoughts run free can result in inspiration striking when you least expect it. Side note: carry a notebook so those thoughts don’t escape you.
This seems like a controversial recommendation from an SM expert but I know better than anyone how easy it is to use social as source of everything – news, trends, selling, buying, upskilling, reading opinions, researching holidays… After all, it has everything you need, and there is so much inspirational content. BUT it can get buried a little and your mind can become a bit too used to the scroll. If you’re in a creative crisis, chances are you’ll fall into the comparison trap and start feeling like you don’t measure up. That’s why I like to look elsewhere.
Shake it up
Quite literally if you can. I love sticking on a favourite playlist and belting it out loud while jumping around the kitchen. Somehow this always feels like the best place. Singing and dancing are great for getting your energy flowing and giving your mind a rest from whatever’s preoccupying it. A few favourite tracks or ones with motivational lyrics work wonders for my mood and help me press reset on whatever I am trying to create.
Join a challenge
What I love about social media challenges is that you can generally find something going on in most niches and someone else has done the thinking for you. It lessens that feeling of wondering what topic to post about – which can be overwhelming if you’re in a slump – so you can focus your energy on creative ways to deliver your content. Following the relevant hashtags to see how others interpreted the theme is also great inspo.
Write a stream of consciousness
I love this exercise for clearing a block. It really feels like it reduces any pressure to create something perfect. Take ten minutes to just write whatever comes into your mind. There is no right and no wrong, it doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t even need correct punctuation (unless that really bothers you!). Some creatives do this every day (known as ‘morning pages’ a phrase coined by Julia Cameron, author of the iconic creativity manual ‘The Artist’s Way’). Often you’ll see recurring themes and this can give you ideas on the kinds of things you want to work on. Great for writers but also good for any creative industry.
Immerse yourself in other people’s work
I used to think I needed to keep my mind clear of what other people are doing in case it diluted my original ideas. Now I realise sparks of inspiration can come from anywhere, so I open myself up to as many sources as possible. You could read books, go to see a film, or binge box sets with great scripts, fabulous costumes or amazing soundtracks. I really love documentaries on inspiring people – Netflix have loads of interesting ones about designers and architects etc – and going old-school with a flick through magazines. Whatever takes you out of yourself.
Go on a culture date
Take yourself on an expedition to explore something that interests you. This doesn’t have to be high-brow – a vintage shop, a beautiful garden, a browse in some stores you don’t usually go into… Anything fun and playful is best. That said, I also love going to galleries. A visit to Olafur Eliasson at Tate Modern recently was just the kind of magical, whimsical outing that got my brain sparking with new ideas.
Call a creative
A simple catch up can do more for your brain than you think, especially if you work alone as a freelancer. Bouncing ideas around with another person can give you a fresh perspective on what you want to achieve, help create more rounded projects from the seeds of ideas and push your creative boundaries further. I appreciate that not everyone has a person they can call or enough like-minded people to brainstorm with. So I’ve come up with a solution: my new Facebook group #DotPlay.
Are you looking to push the boundaries with your social? #DotPlay is a new community of inspiring creatives. It’s a place to share, inspire and encourage creativity in ads and social and it’s always open for business.