Two Ways To Get Out of a Creative Rut

LAURA MONTINI

We all get in the doldrums. The task is not to lie there. Emily Dickinson wrote of love and life fleeting. Never in life enjoying the success she achieved in death. Stepping out of our creative rut is removing the comfortable clothing of our own depression. Depression ad despondency creeps slowly. Now, you may posit this article is only about creativity i.e. innovation. Yes, that is my point. The sunshine parting through the clouds.

A new way where there seemed none.

Product design director at Facebook Julie Zhuo calls it the pit of discomfiture. In a recent post on Medium she recounted several times that she wound up there, and she also explained how she made it out.

As she described it, one of two things happens when you hit a mental block. In one case, you’re in denial, convincing yourself that nothing is wrong with you. “It’s the environment conspiring against you–the shitty weather, your boss, that meeting, the whole stinkin’ culture of this place,” Zhuo wrote.

In the second case, it’s the exact opposite. You’ve started to believe that absolutely everything is wrong with you. It’s at the very least debilitating, if not paralyzing.

Two Ways Out

You can take one of two routes out of the pit, Zhuo said. The first option is to go back to where you started. Just scrap everything and begin again with a clean slate. It’s the easiest way, and despite that fact, there’s no shame in it.

Zhuo was recently in the pit of discomfiture after she decided to take up drawing again for the first time in years. “The process wasn’t fun or liberating. I grew more and more frustrated with myself,” she said. And with that, she gave up.

The alternative is to muddle through with the awareness that nothing will come easy. “Everything you produce while on this path will be garbage. You may even be gripped by the ugly vice of jealousy when you see others bound past you on some alternate road high above, one that seems well-lit and smooth and lined with daffodils,” Zhuo wrote.

But like many processes that are extremely painful, this path can be incredibly rewarding. “At the end, know that there is nothing like it,” she said. […]

Read more via How to Break Out of a Creative Rut | Inc.com.

LAURA MONTINI is a reporter at Inc. She previously covered health care technology for Health 2.0 News and has served as an associate editor at The Health Care Blog. She lives in San Francisco.
@lmmontini

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Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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