I’m having a creative crisis. By this I mean that I was hit out of nowhere with panic over what I’m doing creatively with my life. More specifically, I’m lost in my blogging journey. It’s not writer’s block as such, I have plenty of ideas for posts; I have all the wood I could ever want to build a bonfire. What I seem to have misplaced is the matches. What I need to light the spark of desire to create content has temporarily slipped out of sight. It scares me; it upsets me. Most of all it makes me question everything I’ve created before and if any of it was ‘meaningful’ at all.
And so I’ve taken a step back. It might seem like I’ve only had a few days away from blogging to an outside viewer, as I had regular content going up on my blog until last Wednesday, but in reality I’ve taken a couple of weeks off and relied on scheduled content to get me through. In this time, I’ve become a little distant from the blogging community and haven’t been interacting as much as normal. There are excuses for this – being on holiday, getting ready to move to uni – but my gut instinct tells me these excuses aren’t the reason I’ve removed myself from the online world for a bit.
I’ve blogged through busy times before, in fact, that’s when I’m usually most active on social media. I use blogging and interacting with others online as a way to relax, and having a sense of purpose in this way helps me to get through other stresses in life. However, this time has been different. I think the real reason I’ve spent time away from blogging is because I’m going through a ‘creative crisis’ of sorts.
And so I thought I’d write a self-help checklist for myself and anyone else also struggling to find the box of matches for their creative endeavours. Perhaps by working through this, I’ll find myself in a better place with content creation. I do want to write, it’s not that I’ve lost that desire, I just seem to be struggling to get all the different parts of me to align in a way that allows me to type without feeling like I’m fighting a panic of some sort.
Rediscover your purpose
Why are you doing what you’re doing?
I think one of the main causes for people to enter a creative crisis is because somewhere along the line they lose sight of their purpose. They’re suddenly unsure about why they’re putting time into this seemingly pointless activity and things they’ve worked so hard on can come crashing down in one bitter moment.
I think this has happened to me with blogging. I became super excited about all the possibilities that could potentially open up because of writing online and amidst all of that I forgot what gave me the drive to create content in the first place. I set up my blog for many reasons: as an emotional outlet, to develop my writing skills, to help and connect with other people experiencing similar things to me, and because I find it fun. Hopefully, by reconnecting with these values, I’ll be able to find my blogging direction again.
Rediscover your passion
What about it do you love?
It’s all well and good deciding your creativity holds purpose, and using that to get you back on track, but if you have no burning desire to fulfil this purpose then things are going to stagnate. So spend a bit of time contemplating what gave you the drive in the first place, and identify the specific part of your creativity that gives you joy. When it comes to blogging, I think generating ideas and having the platform to share those ideas with others are the bits that make my heart race a little with excitement.
What can realistically be achieved?
Even though I’ve always had a lot going on whilst writing this blog, I generally had more flexibility with my time up until now. When I was doing a full-time degree and part-time work I was still able to give myself whole days to focus on writing: my course was distance learning and could be done whenever I wanted, and my job consisted of two twelve-and-a-half-hour shifts a week which got them out of the way in a couple of big chunks. So I had a lot on, but I still had blocks of time to dedicate to blogging.
Fast forward to now and everything is about to change. I’m going to university this weekend where I’m going to have to adapt to a timetable set by other people. I will have lectures and seminars taking up odd hours throughout the week meaning that large chunks of time will be harder to find. I think this calls for a change in how I manage things. My reality has changed, and therefore what is realistically achievable has also shifted.
It is important to regularly ‘check in’ with reality: ask yourself what is the same and what is different, and how your expectations of yourself need to slide accordingly. For me, this might mean scaling back the number of times I post a week in order to not lose the time I spend interacting with the community. But I haven’t quite figured it all out yet.
What is something new you can try?
People tend to stick to what they know when they enter a state of uncertainty; they cling to stability and comfort to try to feel better. I think this is potentially counter-productive when it comes to having a creative crisis. If things aren’t working out as they are, and you’re getting more and more miserable or anxious, then something needs to change. It can be something incredibly small, anything really, but the idea is that the change will jolt you into action. For me, my change is sharing this creative struggle online. I talk on my blog a lot about mental health struggles, but don’t really touch on the issues I have with creativity. I thought this could be a good way to shift things slightly.
Allow yourself to dream
Where would you like your creativity to lead you?
Thinking forward, without overthinking in an anxiety-stricken way, is a skill I’m not too great at. I do have dreams in terms of blogging and writing in general – I’d love to publish a book one day, for example – but I’m not brilliant at thinking of more short-term goals without catastrophising. Dreaming is certainly a good thing to do though. It can keep your desire to create alive, and direct your creativity with a little more focus. That’s why I’ve added this as the last point – allow yourself to dream big, and be mindful that your dreaming is a positive addition to your creative process rather than a pressurising deadline, or stress-inducing deadweight.
I’ve added these five points to a page in my bullet journal too, so every time I open the pages I’m reminding myself to keep thinking about creativity in a constructive way that will hopefully lead me to that box of matches. Or perhaps I need to go right back, and find some flint. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.
Come say hi:
All enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org