Some call it a rut, a hole, or a dry spell. Regardless of your chosen term, we’ve all been there at some point. If you’re feeling stuck, there are a number of ways to dig yourself out and never turn back. To keep your creative engines running strong, start with these four simple tips.
1) Finish a Project
Contrary to popular belief, there is enough time in the day. How we choose to spend it however, is ultimately the deciding factor on how effective we are. Procrastination is a nasty trap which derails our creative energy and runs us off-track. As an artist, this can grind projects to a prison like halt. The longer it’s left unchecked, the unfinished project becomes more overwhelming. If the task before you is really large, the hardest part is often figuring out where to start. When this happens, I like to use a process known as “micro-movements”.
2) Use Micro-movements
The concept works by chopping the looming task into much smaller and therefore more manageable steps. For example, if you want to create a coffee table book with 100 of your favorite photographs, the first step may be to simply create a desktop folder for all the photos. The next day, you can flag three photos that you’d like to add. The third day, you actually add the three photos to the folder. If you do this each day for a month or so, you’ll have the contents of your book ready! Micro-movements help to get the ball rolling, building momentum with each small step towards completion.
3) Get Moving
Sometimes you need to change your physical location to emerge from a rut. Grab the lens you use least and drive somewhere new. It doesn’t have to be a scenic overlook or a thundering waterfall. The idea is to pick a town or park you’ve never been to, and photograph it. For extra credit, try shooting at your widest aperture the whole day. You can even give yourself a theme, like the color green, or focusing on people’s hands. Another terrific option is to limit yourself to just one focal length by using a prime lens.
4) Do it Anyway
We all have those nagging tasks that we put off for another day. I’m definitely guilty of this, and have found a way to largely overcome it. The trick is to find the courage to rise above whatever is holding you back, face it head on and do it anyway. If it’s a business call, stop what you’re doing and dial now. For overdue emails, take a deep breath and hit send. The relief will be immediate, and you can allow yourself to focus on other more pleasant endeavors, like your photography.