5 Lessons Learned in the Worst Creative Rut of My Life
Redefine what being a writer means to you and it will change your perspective on success.
Writing has been the backbone of my mental clarity for as long as I can remember. I wrote to feel something, to understand my mess of emotions, and to find myself. It was what I turned to when the rest of my life seemed bleak, and I always hoped that one day I’d be able to do it professionally.
Making my first few cents as a writer pushed me out of my comfort zone, giving me the inspiration I needed to try new things and start to gauge what was working best. I was writing every day and loving every minute of it until it began to consume me. I no longer felt that surge of passion and drive rush through me when I sat down to write even if there were no obligations.
It terrified me because no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t shake the fear, the worry, and the detachment I had to my work. It wasn’t because I stopped wanting to write; it’s because, amid the rest of my struggles, I simply forgot how.
1. You don’t have to be a machine to succeed
You might be telling yourself that you need to be producing a certain amount of content to reach the level of success you want. You might even find that you’re so overwhelmed by the idea of success that you drop everything and slap a project together, hoping it’ll take off.
Don’t do this. Every piece that you put out into the world doesn’t have to be perfect, but it has to mean something. I sometimes get into the habit of finally wanting to do the thing that’s been terrifying me, whether it was working on my debut novel or putting together an incentive for my email list, and I try to do it all too quickly.
Don’t rush your process. Understand it instead. You are capable of doing so much when you understand who you are as a writer and what writing genuinely means to you.
2. Other people’s opinions don’t weigh your worth
I’ve been guilty of worrying about what other people might think of my work, basing my value and worth as a writer on their opinions when I shouldn’t have. It was all going smoothly until things started to change, opinions shifted, and I felt like a failure.
Your worth isn’t measured by how other people see you or how they engage with what you’ve written. You’re going to write things that people are going to love, and you’re going to write things that people will hate. Why are we so inclined to focus solely on the negative?
This is why believing in yourself and being your own cheerleader is so essential. You need to know your worth.
3. You have to be patient with yourself
Shut your inner critic up for a while. Tell them to take a vacation so you can focus on yourself. You aren’t going to be in the right headspace all of the time, and that’s okay. Be patient with your process and allow yourself to create without those pesky “what ifs” looming over you.
Bad days don’t define you as a writer. Good days don’t mean that success will stick around. You have to be willing to try no matter the outcome, no matter how difficult things might get.
If you keep putting the work in, expanding your business as a writer, and improving your craft, you will see the benefit. You will find success.
4. Everything you write is worth your time
When you first start earning a paycheck for your writing, you may feel the urge to put a price tag on everything you spend time working on. That may be why it’s so difficult to start writing a new story or get excited about the topic you’re focused on. You’re too overwhelmed by the idea of earning that nothing else seems to matter.
Let me tell you something. Every piece of writing that you produce is worth your time. Everything you write means something, whether it’s good, bad, or in need of improvement. I used to get so overwhelmed by the need to produce content for a paycheck that I forgot how thrilling it could be to write for me.
It was why I took so long to start putting more effort into my stories or work on my debut novel. I was putting my effort into the pieces that were deemed the most profitable when I should’ve been splitting my time up between passion and paid projects.
Write for yourself every now and then. It’ll change how you work, and it will give you that jolt of motivation you may be missing.
5. You can always revive your creativity
It doesn’t matter how long your creative rut has lasted. You may even feel like you’re never going to get back to creating the way you used to, but I’m here to tell you that you can always revive that spark. I used to feel like I was never going to return to creating consistent content, and that I would never progress in my career, but here I am.
I’m producing much more valuable work now that I’ve taken the time to understand myself. I managed to channel all of that pessimistic energy into writing more, believing in myself even when I was continually faced with failure.
I wrote myself out of my creative rut. I wasn’t going to give up all of the hard work I’ve put in to get this far, and so I finally decided it was time to try again.
Don’t be afraid to write even when every bone in your body tells you that you might fail. Write because you have something to say, whether it’s the best or worst thing you’ve ever created. One day, you’ll be looking back and thanking yourself for all the effort you put in, even when things were difficult.
So, what are you waiting for? Get writing.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! Let’s stay in touch.
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