10 Ways to Get Out of a Creative Rut

10 Things to Do When You’re in a Rut

Guys, I’m just going to come out and say it… I’m in a rut.

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Yep. Yes, indeed.

You know the feeling: That annoyingly indifferent state-of-mind that just kind of lingers, making you feel like your creativity (or whatever else) has taken a permanent hiatus. It sucks, right?

If we’re being honest, I haven’t really felt like blogging lately. Maybe you’ve noticed. It’s been hard for me to write and at the moment, nothing seems to roll easily off the fingertips.

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Do you ever pay attention to the natural flows of your life? You know, seasons. (Seasons of work, play, etc.) I talked about it a lot in this post last summer (definitely worth a read), so I won’t repeat too much of it here.

This mindset has really helped alleviate guilt and stress toward the work-related expectations I project on myself — like putting up a blog post five times per week, or answering every. single. e-mail.

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The worst part about being in an “off-season” or a rut/creative lull, though, is when you can’t quite seem to put your finger on the source. Huh. Maybe it’s that job that you’re not totally sure whether or not you want to stay in — or a relationship that deep-down leaves you feeling super insecure. Or, honestly, maybe it’s the weather.

When it really comes down to it, though, I think it’s because the way you’re living isn’t in full alignment with your true self. Corny, maybe, but it’s like your life is not as awesome or authentic as you know it can be.

Here are 10 things I do every time I feel like I’m in a rut — they’re fool-proof for me, and I hope they help you, too.

1. Don’t force it. 

Lulls happen, you know? Without our valleys we wouldn’t know our peaks. The worst thing you can do is force it.

2. Change your perspective.

I use this mindset as motivation in my cycling classes, but often times when we’re presented with a challenge or something that seems too “hard,” it’s really just an opportunity in disguise. It’s up to us to figure out wherein lies the opportunity or lesson.

Easier said than done, though, which is why I…

3. Find stillness (quiet meditation).

Some days, there’s just too much internal chatter. When this happens, it means your energy is up too high in your body (or in other words, you’re way too in your own head). As a result, you start to feel disconnected, skittish and flighty. Shut up, brain!

Ring a bell?

I won’t lie — meditation is very difficult for me. Sitting completely still for, like, 10 minutes a day should be easy, right? Not the case, here.

I’ve been using an app called Headspace (highly recommend), which is essentially a series of daily, guided 10-minute meditations. It helps that I love the narrator’s voice.

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Mediation has made a huge difference in my energy levels and overall feeling of groundedness.

In some way, shape or form, you know as well as I do that you’ve got to ground yourself before your situation can change. Both feet have to be firmly on the ground in order to weather the storm, right?

Before you roll your eyes at me, try it. I promise you’ll notice a difference (and feel better).

4. Write or journal. 

If quiet meditation intimidates you, try writing things down for a few minutes a day. Tend to your thoughts closely, and replace negative ones with something a little more honesty, optimistic and positive. You’ll be surprised how your mood improves.

soulcycle nyc

5. Exercise (active meditation). 

More often than not, meditation for me comes in the form of active movement — SoulCycle, yoga, running and so on. Over time, I have learned to love exercise — mainly, how it helps me let go of the unnecessary noise in my mind.

Most of the time, we’re in our own heads analyzing things, having conversations with ourselves that aren’t serving us. Meditation — active or still — enables you to keep your attention on what’s going on now. Plus, exercising releases endorphins. That makes you feel good.

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6. Seek out that inspo. 

I am not above trolling Pinterest for inspiring quotes and sayings — some days, there’s nothing better. Find one that speaks to you, write that shit down and repeat it over and over. (Here are a few of my favorites.)

But also, be mindful to…

7. Get offline. 

For better or for worse, we’re bombarded with non-stop chatter from every angle in today’s digitally driven world. All of these voices and outside opinions are constantly telling us how to look, feel, date, dress, eat, play and more.

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… Can I LIVE?

But seriously: These voices can be too much. They’ll drown out your own voice — that intuitive whisper you know you should listen to in the first place. Get away from the buzzing, get off that social media highlight reel and reconnect with what really matters.

Put down your phone, go outside and do something that reminds you how massively big our world is. 

8. Get lost in music.

It’s no secret here that I’m a big music buff. Often, it feels like an escape — kinda like reading a great book or watching a movie. Music has the opportunity to transport you to otherworldly places, or to find the way to say and articulate things you aren’t able to yourself.

You can follow what I’ve been listening to lately on Snapchat (add me here), Spotify or Soundcloud.

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9. Purge, purge, purge. 

Feels good to clean out your closet, doesn’t it? Same goes for your emotional well-being — too much mental clutter has a direct impact on your mood. If it doesn’t serve you, get rid of it. Often times without even realizing it, it’s the things we’re stubbornly holding on to that are actually holding us back.
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10. Focus on in-person relationships.

This is the biggest one for me. Life is meant to be lived out loud and in-person. It is all too often that we set aside our own personal needs to prioritize our jobs. Sure, work is an important part of life — but it shouldn’t be all of it.

… After all, living your life will only inspire your work.

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Ultimately, trying to manage working, blogging and a personal life is hard — and it all comes down to balance. Some days, I’m good at it. Other days, I’m not. But what’s important is that we give ourselves the grace of having “off” days or making mistakes.

Breathe, put on some lipstick and keep it movin’.

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I’m heading to a blog-focused conference this weekend in Dallas, which I imagine will be effective in re-igniting the passion and fire under my ass for wanting to kick ass on the content creation front. Always does! It’ll be great to see so many of my girlfriends from LA, Dallas and New York, too. (You are welcome to follow along on Instagram and Snapchat — @coralsncognacs).

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Photography by Lydia Hudgens and Melissa Ferrara

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