In and out of a creative slump

In March this year I performed my science comedy show and it went pretty well. In April I finished writing the first draft of a 1-hour long comedy drama play. In May I attended a weekend musical improv workshop and loved it. And at the very beginning of June I was in a half-hour play for charity.

And then somehow I just seemed to stop doing anything creative. I felt like I couldn’t settle down to any of my projects. I don’t think it helped that I didn’t have any feedback for the play, that I wasn’t due to perform the science comedy show again for nearly half a year, or that I was unlikely to be in a long-form improv show any time soon. But those are just excuses rather than reasons. I felt uncreative and ended up procrastinating rather than actually getting on with bits of projects.

That’s in stark contrast to now. In the past week I’ve done a read-through of my play with my girlfriend, made changes to the script based on that, pitched some ideas for TV shows to my local TV station, and worked on editing together a video that I haven’t worked on for weeks; in fact I’ve actually worked through a couple of versions of the video, having got feedback very quickly on the first one, and now it’s basically done. I’ve even managed to get in more guitar practice than I have in a while.

So what was the difference? I don’t think I can pin it down to just one thing, but there are a few.  Encouragement from my girlfriend that it was OK to spend time on my own projects helped an awful lot. Having got some creative things done earlier in the week meant that I felt much more able to do creative things later in the week, and I think the variety has also been good for me. In a way I managed to start working on this even during the slump, as I put my backside in my chair (I got a nice new chair a little while ago) and allowed myself to work on a few more unusual ideas, even though it was a slog to get anything down and I didn’t feel particularly creative even when I’d written something. Having recently attended the wedding of a couple of friends and having helped out on a Scout Camp also seemed to help get the creative juices flowing again.

I don’t have any quick fixes for if I find myself in a creative slump, even if I do have some ideas of things that might help. It has happened before and no doubt it will happen again. But at least this time I’ll have written this message to my future self and maybe I’ll finally take to heart the lesson it contains.

This happens sometimes. And that’s OK. Just keep plugging on, speak to good friends, and wander about outside for a while. Eventually things will flow again.

I hope that’s useful for other people too. And I’d love to know what you do to get out of a creative slump, if you feel like sharing it.

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