This entry was written on a bad day.
The kind of day when you seriously consider wrapping your business up, sending it all the way down to hell, and just finding a job. Preferably, a clerk job. One that won't require you to think, to create, to have anyone having expectations about your performance.
If you never had one of those, you have both my jealousy and my undying admiration.
For quite some time, I was doing none, I repeat, none, of the things I actually enjoyed.
The very reason I started a business was face-to-face work with clients. Doing stuff that’s I’m good at. Having positive human interaction, where I could be of tangible value to a real person.
Guess what? I didn't do any of this, almost at all.
I was "building an audience". Writing, figuring out Social Media, reaching out to influencers.
And I was freaking hating it.
Hating the fact that I needed to produce something interesting, something comforting, something exciting, when all I felt was depletion, with no traces of energy or enthusiasm left.
Ever tried to get a cup of juice from a completely squeezed-out lemon?
This is what I felt like. I was that lemon, in more ways than one.
This was also the day I finally realized that CREATIVITY IS CYCLICAL.
It’s not like no one ever told me that you can’t force it. But apparently it takes reaching a new low point to really internalize this idea.
A very smart woman once told me: ”Pain is cyclical”. On that horrible day, I remembered her words and realized that creativity has patterns, just like pain does.
Sometimes you have creative surges, your mind is buzzing, you are excited about an idea, you feverishly write it down, your brain in overdrive.
Other times it's all blank. You can't create anything. And feels… crushing. It feels like you’re worthless. Like there's no hope. I remember feeling like I would never, ever, in my entire life, be able to accomplish anything. Let alone get my business off the ground.
And you wonder why there's an epidemic of depression among entrepreneurs?
SO... HOW DO YOU COPE?
Coping strategy #1: CREATIVITY IS CYCLICAL.
This thought, or rather a mantra, carries me through the days of despair, despair that feels very real at the time. That too shall pass, I tell myself. Eventually I will be able to create great, amazing, inspiring, useful, innovative, breakthrough stuff again.
It’s worth repeating - CREATIVITY IS CYCLICAL.
Your slump won’t last forever, I promise.
Coping strategy #2: PLANNING.
Search for patterns: are you most creative in the mornings? Do you lose all drive to create around your period? (I've seen it happen for so many women!). Note the patterns and PLAN FOR IT.
Plan relaxation or mundane work for your non-creative times. Put these things on your Calendar. It'll help you come back to your "creative times" with tons more energy and enthusiasm.
Some examples of stuff I do during “creative dry spell" days:
- Budget work
- Tech stuff on my website
- Consume rather than create. Read the book that I didn't have time for during a creative surge. Listen to the class that I was too busy to take, while in the frenzy of creation.
- Let myself rest. Just rest. Walk, climb (my new love), hang out with friends. Recharge.
So there you go. It’s that obvious: know and plan. (It wasn’t obvious to me at all, in case you missed the sarcasm). Know and Plan. Know that the pain and emptiness will pass. Plan for non-creative things to do in the meantime.
And then - keep creating your great, amazing, inspiring, useful, innovative, breakthrough stuff again.