How to Handle a Creative Drought

Handling Creative Drought by Natalie Parker

Back in 2014 I had the longest scrapbooking creativity drought I’ve ever experienced.  Months (yes, months plural) of not being able to put something together I liked.  It was really really frustrating.

I finish projects well before I blog them, so you wouldn’t have noticed the drought here.  When I balance that with being a grad student, working full time, and traveling and spending time with Mr. P, it means I keep several projects “in the chamber” so I always have something to write about.

Anyway, around April last year I got really focused on school and work.  I was chugging along with classes toward my degree and boom!  I stumbled upon a research topic that I really loved and dove in.  It wasn’t required, but I couldn’t help myself.  I went to a conference, got even more inspired, and I’m now working on a thesis that’s optional for graduation.

Soon after at work, I became a manager for the first time.  I put a lot of time not just into drafting welcome materials, but making sure they were aesthetically pleasing.  Because I’m that person.

All of this stuff left me time for scrapbooking but not much creativity.

What I learned from my creative drought

Understand your creative environment.  I wrote about this earlier, but I need to make sure I have the right space and mindset or else my projects will turn out like crap.  The right mindset also means that if I have a huge school project that is eating away at my mind and I’m on a roll with it, it’s okay to focus my energy there and come back to other projects later.

Try something else.  I started cross-stitching again.  I still had the itch to make stuff, I just couldn’t get any of my normal projects right.  It was therapeutic to work on something different.

Don’t force it.  I needed to listen to yourself and not work on something that wasn’t going well.  I learned to focus energy on what I wanted to work on.  I ended up doing better work that way.  So if my dive into the world of personal digital archiving and deciding to write a thesis captured my imagination, that’s great!

Case in point: I had set aside time to write this post last week.  My job was taking every last ounce of my creativity because I was working on the biggest project I’d ever worked on and it was all I could think about.  Even though I don’t like writing posts at the last minute, I decided to wait.  I sat down after my Sunday workout when it was still quiet in the house and yippee!  This thing wrote itself!

Handling Creative Drought by Natalie Parker

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