How-to Bulldoze a Creative Cul-De-Sac with 3 Simple Strategies
When you suddenly feel like you’re strapped for ideas and you keep producing versions of the same thing—what do you do?
I used to get frustrated and throw myself a little pity party. (P.s. No one ever wanted to come.) Generally, the lull wouldn’t last long then a sudden strike of inspiration would present itself and BAM! I’d be back in business.
Perhaps you can relate to this kind of thing.
So, what happens now, that I’m so grossly aware of this little hiccup, is I’ve enlisted the following strategies to get back on the creative bandwagon after a hitting a brick wall of crap ideas.
I think you’ll enjoy this first one!
Give yourself permission to get dumb. Like really dumb.
Think Kristen Wiig with tiny hands and a receding hair line on SNL.
I wasn’t kidding when I said “get dumb”. I have this friend and colleague, her name is Kate Matthews. (And for the record she is the farthest thing from dumb and if she’s reading this… hey girl!) What makes working with Kate so magical is our collective ability to set free the ridiculously side of ourselves.
To illustrate my point, one time, we dressed up as Wayne and Garth from Wayne’s World and produced a full-on sketch comedy skit to promote a festival lineup. It was equal parts insane and awesome. This collection of skits also featured an amazing local DJ and fellow creative, Charly Hustle, who is perhaps the elixir that really sets off our ideas. For instance, the Prime Minister of Canada wore a tee shirt from our merchandise collection back in 2016. So, what do Kate and I do? What any set of dumb buddies would do, obvs… call Charly and shoot a parody!
Now, there are other far more legitimate projects Kate and I have done together like producing beautiful campaigns for Saskatoon Fashion and Design Festival, really cool merchandise collections, big ticket giveaways, and more. However, I’d say the secret ingredient to our mojo is the ability to get a little wild in the brainstorming area.
Marie Forleo calls this person your dumb buddy (I mentioned that term above and I can’t think of a more perfect classification). I bet if you sat down and really thought about it, you could think of someone you can sit down with and come up with some dumb sh&t. It’s not about solving the world’s problems, instead it’s all about having fun and letting in the good, the bad, and the outrageous. When you least expect it, the stars align and all the crazy ideas manifest a diamond. Trust me, it happens!
In terms of a clear cut strategy of how to get “dumb” I’ll leave that to you. However, I know for certain it starts with giving yourself permission and being prepared to not care what others may think.
2. Create a daily ritual to set your mindset and attitude on the right track.
We are all creatures of habit. And when our day follows a familiar ritual it creates order in our minds and puts us in the positive attitude.
Here’s some food for thought…
Having a solid morning ritual, sets the tone for your morning, and your day. When you consistently have good days, you have good weeks, months, and years. So, based on this logic you could easily say that a solid, well-considered morning ritual sets the tone for a good life.
That might seem farfetched to you right now, but I’d bet good money if you committed to setting the tone of your day with intention, purpose, and a positive attitude things WILL go very well for you.
When it comes to Creative Cul-De-Sacs and over coming them, give yourself whitespace and grace. Ramming your head against the wall will never produce anything close to what you are capable of.
Here are few things to try to get that whitespace:
Visualizing a specific goal (notice I’ve bolded specific)
Listening to a mentor that resonates with you. (I’m currently very into Danielle LaPorte)
Listening to a playlist
I don’t know what your unique cocktail will include, but these are some ideas for you to try. And try you should. Knowing yourself well enough to create the attitude you want to live your life in? Now that’s powerful.
3. Never fall in love with your ideas.
I have 1000% been guilty of this in the past. I lock on to something I think is going to be amazing and then it’s only okay, but I force it. Every time it turns out like a stinky poop emoji, not like the cute sequin ones kids are obsessed with. And the end result is sub-par.
My understanding as it relates to this is we become overly attached to an idea and become rigid. Instead of letting things happen, we force them to happen.
So, how do you cope with this and get back into the flow?
Detach from your work.
The work you do does not define who you are. Try to remember that. When you’re convinced the project you’re doing is the end-all-be-all, that’s just not true.
In reality it’s a small piece of a very large puzzle of your body of work.
It’s also not “your baby”. Your project is not a dependent, innocent human being that requires 24/7 care. So, don’t act like it is.
Please don’t misunderstand me on this point, because we’re getting a bit paradoxical. I’m not saying to stop caring. I’m saying DON’T hold on to your ideas with death grip to the point where the idea and YOU are stifled.
So, how do you do this exactly? Like you, I’m VERY interested in the HOW of everything and this recent post on 3 Truths to Get Over Yourself may help. I’m planning to follow up on purely this point, so stay tuned!
Alright y’all! Thanks so much for reading. This is a hot topic that you can really dive deep into, so if these strategies resonated with you let me know! Alternatively, share below how you overcome creative cul-de-sacs. I’d love to hear from other creatives on this!
Until next time!