If you’re feeling creatively drained and strained right now, you’re not alone.
COVID-19’s ongoing wave of destruction has done a number on writers and those of us who communicate for a living. Summoning the energy to cohesively cover the day’s events and company news—all while keeping an upbeat spirit—has an emotional slog, to say the least. We’re in an absolutely exhausting, frightening season.
If you’d like breath of fresh, hopeful air, Henneke Duistermaat of Enchanting Marketing has illustrated a wonderfully encouraging infographic. In “How to discover your writing genius (and do your best work),” she relays her own recent struggles to remain productive amid such grim global circumstances. She writes: “Recently, my muse disappeared. My writing felt labored. I felt disconnected and demotivated. I was down. Everything felt like too much work. Some might say I should just wait patiently for my muse to return. But I wanted to feel better. I wanted to get back to writing. I didn’t want to be patient.”
To snap out of her “doomscrolling” funk, Henneke started drawing and challenging herself to try “something different.” She came up with eight questions to ask yourself when you’re struggling to generate fresh ideas, including:
“What do you need to keep your soul happy and your brain cells humming along?” When’s the last time you pondered such a deep question?
We all get caught up and bogged down in mundane tasks and activities. So much so that we tend to neglect what feeds and fuels our own souls. Take time for whatever it is that brings you joy, and build that into your routine.
“Which kinds of input keep you inspired?” We cram so much information into our brains each day, but how much of it is fruitful? Of course, it’s important to get feedback from bosses, colleagues and clients, but Henneke suggests soaking up creative “input” from “books,” “conversations” and “adventures” to spark creative thinking.
“When do you stumble in the writing process, and how can you get unstuck?” Most of us just wait until lightning strikes and the words start to flow, but Henneke suggests just getting on with it. She offers the reminder that, “Your first draft may be messy. Don’t give up. The revision process will sharpen your thinking.”
Don’t worry about that first attempt. It’s going to be ugly. The key is not yielding to the temptation of procrastination.
“How can you make time to follow your curiosity and do your best work?” The piece quotes Polish poet Wisława Szymborska: “Whatever inspiration is, it’s born from a continuous ‘I don’t know.’ ”
Curiosity might be in short supply these days, but writers must be willing to carve out time for this essential creative exercise. It’s a smart first step toward getting creatively “unstuck” and (re)finding your voice. As Henneke writes, “Remember, even when you feel empty, you still have ideas, experiences, and stories to share. Your voice deserves to be heard.”
Indeed it does. So, shake the cobwebs off your creativity, follow your curiosity, and go create something that stirs your passion. At the very least, commit to honing your craft with an uplifted spirit of hope, fun and resilience.
Read the rest of the infographic on Enchanting Marketing.