You are not uninspired, you have just hit a creative plateau. – Avril (Wise Entrepreneur)
As I walk towards Avril’s vintage/crystal store located in Toronto’s famous Kensington neighbourhood, I feel light.
There in the window, I see the bobbing of two heads engaged in conversation.
Relieved, I march towards the entrance with such purpose you’d think I was a tax collector.
That morning I had experienced a serious mental breakdown. The type that makes you want to buy the next plane ticket to Italy and start a new life. I had found myself feeling average.
I was producing less content, and felt as if my writing lacked direction.
The front door of the store creaked open, and the sweet aroma of incense greets my nose. I hear the soft chatter between Avril and her friend. They laugh, then pause as I walk closer to the window.
There is a brief hesitation when Avril and I make eye contact. Then just as my lips break into a sheepish smile, her eyes light up and she greets me with high spirits.
“OH MY GOD! I remember you! It’s been too long! ”
I won’t lie, I was startled by her short exclamation. Yet, the reassurance that I didn’t have to reintroduce myself was comforting. After all, it had been months since I last visited her.
I first met Avril in the summer of 2018. My ex and I were hanging around Kensington and was curious as to why her shop didn’t have a sign. We both walked in and instantly felt good vibes. Now, I find myself visiting her once in a while for her divine advice.
During my encounter with Avril, I spoke to her about my creative hiatus. I expressed how frustrated I was at myself and how the inability to create made me feel useless. What she told me that day continues to replay in my mind. I remember she smiled at me before saying these magical words;
“You are not uninspired. You have just hit a creative plateau.”
Now I know many people don’t know what she meant by a creative plateau. I didn’t understand it either at first. But the moment she said creative plateau, my perspective began to change. I leaned in. Even before she mentioned what a creative plateau meant, I was already being positively impacted.
Defining the Creative Plateau
Avril went on to explain that a creative plateau is a point where you have difficulties creating something new or getting out of, what can be defined as, a ‘slump’. In this point, you will find yourself questioning whether you should continue doing something.
Or if you’re like me, you’ll question if your work is as valuable as it once was.
If you’re a creative individual, then you should know that our creativity is like a line graph. However, it is not one that progresses steadily. In fact, it has many ups and downs, sometimes more downs, but AMAZING ups.
To best put: Creativity is not a linear process.
Once you hit a peak, the lines in your graph will start to decrease. But that is only temporary! However, as our creative activities decrease, our vibrations seem to lower with it.
Don’t worry, it’s normal.
As difficult as a creative plateau is, I am grateful that Avril shared some ways to overcome it. All of which, I will share with you!
Tips to Overcome a Creative Plateau
Look At What You Have Done Already
If you really took a moment to look at what you have accomplished thus far, you’ll find that you’re not doing as bad as you think! In fact, you should be proud of yourself.
During that time Avril reminded me that I already have a blog, with plenty of valuable content on it.
I was shocked that I had never thought about this before.
She was right! I have managed to keep my blog running for three years, and have hit multiple milestones. Not only that, but my work has been read by many world wide. I have been nominated for a WordPress Award, and have people who occasionally reach out to me to express their admirations.
It is amazing how quick we are to focus on the lack in our lives. We sometimes forget that we are abundantly blessed for all the things we have now.
Just taking a moment to think about what you have already accomplished, can make you want to do even more.
Looking back alone gave me that itch to produce more content.
Yes. Try something new.
Step out of your comfort zone and make more memories. Drawing from our experiences is a huge part of our creative process. We draw inspirations from multiple aspects of life whether it’s people we met, places we’ve been, or even activities we participate it.
How we feel in those moments are what we remember most.
So let’s try to have more experiences! Travel if you’re able to, or take on a new hobby. Find different ways to stimulate your mind and indulge in those moments.
During my creative plateau I started painting. Painting was something I’ve always wanted to explore. As a writer, I am used to creating with words and photos, but to use colours and paint to create was new and stimulating.
Funny enough, after painting I would feel inspired to write. Most of my poems from the last two months were written after a midnight paint session.
I urge you to try something new this week, and tell me what that will be in the comments!
Discipline, Discipline, Discipline!
Okay, I’ll be real.
If you make money being creative and it is your main source of income, then not creating can be stressful financially. With that, I advice that you try to produce, but create a schedule that doesn’t make creating all you do.
Dedicate a time during the day that is for creating. Whether its in the morning or night, make sure you do something that involves creating.
I have an English professor that is an award winning writer. One time in lecture she opened up to everyone about her struggles with writers block (also a creative plateau). She mentioned that during these times, she makes a pact with herself to write 500 words a day.
My professor created a daily goal that was achievable and allowed her to still make a steady income. Sometimes she would go over that word count if she was inspired.
Being disciplines isn’t just going at something repetitively, but it is also understanding why you should do that thing. If creating is a passion and a source of income, you should create because you will feel fulfilled and financially stable.
With enough dedication, you will build a habit that allows you to create what you want at a steady pace.
This point is self explanatory.
If you are experiencing a creative plateau you probably don’t feel the best right now. Your self esteem is low, and you are starting to doubt yourself.
All of these feelings are reasons you must shower yourself with love and affection. All because you’re having difficulty creating right now does not devalue you in any way.
You are more than your temporary inability to create!
This moment does not define your gifts or talents. In fact, see it as a break. You have created so much already, time to recharge and do other things you love. Once your break is over, you will return rejuvenated and ready to create as much as you want.
I find that taking care of myself is a major part of overcoming my creative plateau. I would wake up, do my morning affirmations, eat a BIG breakfast, then go for a walk.
Throughout the day, I make sure everything I do radiates positivity. I would most likely meditate, paint, or hang out with people that make me feel great.
Spending time doing things that make me happy, raises my vibrations which also inspires me to create.