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Framed In Joy, Melissa N Smith

Pivot: Moving from Unmotivated to Refreshed

coaching questions creative design toolkit for creatives

It is disconcerting to a writer when they run out of words. Like a runner who can’t compete because of an injury or a climber with no mountain in sight, writers who run out words can get a little testy. Restless and unsure of what to do with ourselves, we hit a creative wall.

In a season of productivity, I expended a force of creative energy on designing, writing, and launching an online course. Words spun in the air like leaves in autumn. Yet, as the calendar page flipped to a new year, my word count slipped to zero. With brain fog settling in deeply and the malaise of the holidays luring me into lethargy, I wondered if my words would return.

Have you hit this wall creatively?

  • You are unmotivated to work in your normal medium.
  • Ideas arrive slowly and do not inspire implementation.
  • While you schedule time to create, you continually cannot keep your date.
  • The fun of creation has diminished to the slog of repetition and work.
  • You would rather clean out a closet than pick up a pen.

Maybe like Ross in Friends as they cram a couch up a staircase, it’s time to “Pivot!”

In January, my word tank needed a refill, and my mind needed a rest. Instead of computer work, graphic creation, and writing words, I redecorated my house. No wall or nook was left unattended. I increased the donation pile, moved and replaced the carpets, hung and rearranged the pictures, and reevaluated the wall colors. I’m proud to confess that I kept my trips to Hobby Lobby and Tuesday Morning to a minimum. Instead, I used all my creative juices to repurpose what I already owned. 

Now, every time I step in the back door, I smile. The living room is the same, but better. My kitchen boasts a cozy nook where junk previously gathered. When I sit in my chair, a wall of gleaming metal prints of our travels invites me to remember our adventures. And in those industrious moments of revamping our home, words took root in my heart and mind again. Slowly and quietly, the tank refilled.

If your creative well dried up, pivot into areas of creative interest you rarely invest in. Here are a few ideas to get you moving into creativity again.

  1. If you write, pick up a camera or paint. Put on music and dance!
  2. Do you love decorating? Focus on a neglected room in your house.
  3. Read about your craft. Move from output to input.
  4. Spend time in nature. The glory of creation quickly refills our creative tank.
  5. Pursue community. Ideas, encouragement, and laughter will rekindle and refresh you.
  6. Focus on your body instead of your mind! Stretch, walk, or exercise.
  7. Remember, business and creative play are different. Try writing in a different genre just for fun - poetry, flash fiction, a personal essay, or a haiku!
  8. Play with graphics and designing! Let your words rest and play with visuals.
  9. Read a children’s book. Let the whimsy and illustrations jump start your creativity.
  10. Take a nap. Sleep allows our minds to rest and sorts through the chaos. Never underestimate the power of rest in fueling your creativity!

As you rest from your normal creative outputs, celebrate the glorious gift of variety. While you may choose to express your creativity through words, your creative design extends to every aspect of your life, from relationships to problem solving. 

When you find yourself unmotivated to write, pivot into creative play in a different venue. Engaging in creative play in a different venue will refill your creative tank, refresh you, and may bring about a new perspective on your work. Go head, Writer, pivot!

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