Here’s the scenario: you’re sitting on your bed in your least favorite, ugly ass pajamas. You have no desire to actually write or create (you know, what you thought was your whole purpose in life), opting instead to feel like shit about your lack of productivity. You scroll through your Facebook feed, feeling like garbage made sentient as you watch your peers succeed in life and be passionate about various things and go on dates and shit.
Why aren’t you passionate? Why haven’t you won an award? Why haven’t you finished writing your book yet (or, I don’t know, started on it, you fucking loser)? And when was the last time you even went on a date?
Congratulations! You may have lost your inspiration. (Also known as getting burnt out, getting stuck in a rut, yadda yadda yadda). You also might be clinically depressed, in which case I implore you (and myself?) to seek professional guidance. In the meantime, it couldn’t hurt to try a few things in attempt to get your mojo back. Who knows? They just might help you feel better.
1. Find the joy in your passions again.
If you’re a writer who hasn’t been writing and you feel like shit about it, then it’s time to take it back to a fun place. For me, that means I forget about working on My Super Awesome Amazing Debut Novel That Wows The World (pressure much?), and instead, I try something more fun. Fanfiction. Writing prompts. Hell, mad-libs. You need to to get out from under that pressure before it kills you and every ounce of creativity you have within you, boo.
2. Try something new.
I can’t stress enough the importance of switching things up, but I live in the real world so I’m not gonna sit here and be like ‘Backpack through Europe!’ Bitch please, what do you think this is, Eat Pray Love? Some of us have to work, so let’s be realistic about this – pick up a book (or a movie, or show) that’s totally different from the kind of thing you’re usually into. Try something different on the menu. Go on a hunt for new music. Take a class, or decide on a new hobby and look up Youtube tutorials about it.
It’s ok to take baby steps. Be proud of them, and go from there. Even small changes can make a big dif in your life, over time. The point is to find something new that lights a fire in you, any fire, and if it’s like, Indian food and a new shitty band that you can’t get enough of, as long as it puts a smile on your face, that’s a good thing.
3. Don’t be so damn hard on yourself.
Creativity ebbs and flows. Building habits is great and everything, but if you don’t write (or draw, or paint, or code, or whatever) today, this week, or even this month, don’t lie in bed every night feeling like shit and insulting yourself over it (Hi, me! Please stop being a jerk to yourself, thanks.). That accomplishes nothing – it’s counterproductive, and when you do that, the thing you used to love becomes a giant ball of stress and anxiety. Don’t do it to yourself!
4. Set small, achievable goals.
No, I haven’t finished my novel yet. I haven’t made much progress at all actually. But you know what? I wrote this blog post, and I’m feeling pretty ok about it. I’s got pictures and gifs and everything, and I felt good writing it. That might just have to be enough for today.
5. Revisit your past triumphs.
Remind yourself that you are capable of producing half-way decent shit. Remember that thing you wrote that was kinda ok? Or that painting you did last year that didn’t completely suck? You did that shit. You! Fuck yeah.
6. Fake it. Seriously, just fake it.
Who was it that said sometimes you just have to gas yourself up? Shakespeare? Nicki Minaj? Me? Yeah, I think it was me.
In any case, sometimes you just need to be your own hype man. Talk yourself up the way you would speak to someone you loved who was having the shittiest day of their life. Pretend you’re talking to George R. R. Martin and the only way he’ll ever finish the series is if you flatter him enough. Just tell yourself you’re the shit, you got this, and just keep trying – keep coming back to the page, or the canvas, or the computer screen – over and over. You got this – I believe in you.