Creatively, personally, and professionally, there is both a fear and possibility of going stagnant. Whether that is born of a lack of content, inspiration, or time, busyness, self-doubt, or a myriad of other factors, stagnancy is a challenge that we all face.
However, there are ways to push back against these ‘stuck’ moments and keep yourself motivated and confident. Here is a list of what has worked best for me.
1. Create a to-do list of topics that interest you. Something you can reference if you’re feeling completely dry or out of ideas.
2. Create a weekly topic/focus that you can fall back on. For example a weekly newsletter, roundup of ideas or favorite content, or something that you can use each week as a buffer for sharing content if nothing else comes to mind.
3. Schedule posts. To give yourself time to flex your creative muscles, write and create content to be shared so that you can spend your free time drafting, writing, etc.
4. Read. Or tap into other creative outlets for inspiration.
5. Create something that’s inspired from something else. (While giving proper credit, of course!) This can be a poem you construct base on reading another author’s poem, a painting that draws inspiration from a song, or something along those lines.
6. Collaborate with other creators in your field. If you’re feeling a lack in your personal creativity or pages, reach out to someone else and see if you can create and share something together. This will help your follower base grow, as well as pull you out of a rut!
7. Plan ahead. Make sure to think big and forward about future goals. If you know you’re going to be busy at a later date, see if you can create and schedule ahead of time (see #3) or just prepare yourself mentally to take on a task load when your days get too full.
8. Reshape your feed. If you feel like you’re getting bored with the same ole thing, switch up your feed, page, website, etc. Can you change the color scheme? Can you change the layout? This will keep your content from becoming stagnant, as equally as your mind.
9. Make time for the things you love. If you’re feeling stagnant, perhaps you’ve been putting way too much attention and time into things that aren’t filling you with joy. Even if you love your job, be intentional about setting aside time for your passions. Give yourself a few minutes every day, or at the least every week, to do something you love simply because you love it.
10. Engage with others. Stagnancy comes from feeling dissatisfied or disconnected. To keep yourself from getting stuck in one place, make sure to reach out (especially to other creators) about their content, projects, or ideas. Comment, collaborate (see #6), or just read and connect with what others are sharing with the world.
11. Challenge yourself. When you’re feeling stuck, try to take on something you normally wouldn’t. Whether that’s a longer project, something outside of your comfort zone, or just an idea you’ve had in the back of your mind but never went for it—do it. The challenge will inspire you.
12. Take an advanced class specializing in your field. You don’t know everything, so when you’re feeling stagnant or unsatisfied, take a class or research specifics regarding the advanced parts of your field. (Ex: If you’re a poet, go take an advanced workshop class where you work alongside other poets and workshop/critique one another’s work.)
13. Tap into an editor/use a professional editor. Having a fresh pair of eyes look over your work and push you to make corrections will not only inspire you to work harder, but give you the push you need to stay on top of a project, idea, or task.
14. Use social media as a tool. Tap into social media to get feedback, share content, or connect with others. This can be a great space to inspire you, see who resonates with your work, and keep you moving forward.
15. Break your routine. If you’re a morning person, try to sleep in and stay up later to work/write/create/etc. instead. Even if this feels abnormal, difficult, or frustrating, keep after it for a few days. The push will help you refocus, plus give you a sense of comfort and confidence when you finally fall back into old habits.
16. Stay positive. The minute you start to stress or get anxious, your work will begin to suffer. Instead of stressing yourself out over what you haven’t done or how stuck you feel, empower yourself with statements like: “I’ve got this,” “I’m going to move past this frustrating time,” or “I am a great ___.”
17. Don’t be afraid of the crappy draft. Just let it all out—whatever comes to mind, whatever’s spinning around in your brain, whatever you’ve been mulling over. Don’t worry if your draft is ‘good,’ or even if anything makes sense. Just the act of doing a brain dump will help clear space in your mind to refocus on what you need to.
18. Re-share old content as you work on developing new. You don’t have to be constantly creating new content; in fact, sometimes that’s not even possible! Instead of stressing yourself out, making a timeline, or holding yourself to high expectations, share old content while you focus all your attention on the new. People will resonate with the old, while giving you the space and freedom to work on what you want.
19. Reach out for help. Sometimes communication is important for fighting stagnancy. When you talk to other people or lean on them for support, it can create a great network to bounce ideas off of, find and share camaraderie, and remind yourself you’re not alone.