There are plenty of things you can do to get out of the creative rut. Plenty of ways to overcome the creative block. But we often forget the simplest and the most obvious one, and it is to do nothing. Sometimes, the best way is to retreat, to take a step back from everything and just be. In this amazingly inspiring video, Sean Tucker discusses why retreat can sometimes be the best thing you can do for your creativity.
In the video, Sean talks about how occasional retreats help him with his creative work. In fact, they helped him start this YouTube channel, determine its direction, and set its tone. On a personal note, I can strongly relate to his story, even though he describes himself as an introvert, and I think I lean more towards an extrovert. I also find occasional retreats important, not only for my creativity but also for my wellbeing. And I believe that anyone could benefit from them.
The logic behind all this is pretty simple. We live in a pretty hectic world; we’re constantly bombed by content and information. Because of all this, as Sean puts it, we have many thoughts every day that we never finish. When we briefly get away from work and from the “outside world” as I like to call it, it allows us to stop and think. To really look into our inner world and focus on our thoughts and ideas. To “finish the thoughts” that we started thinking when a phone, an email, or a coworker interrupted us.
Distancing yourself from the It doesn’t have to last a week, a month or a year. A few days are just enough, even a few hours. Remember that you don’t have to be everywhere, read everything, and communicate with everyone all the time. Instead, occasionally take a few days off and retreat from everything. Spend time alone, regardless of whether it will be at home, somewhere in nature, or on a short vacation. Take that time to recollect your thoughts and get back to your true self. This is when the ideas will start popping up, and some things that didn’t seem right will start to fall back into place.
Sometimes, even a few hours will work. Whenever I feel overwhelmed and oversaturated with information, I take a few hours off. I rarely stay at home (because I work from home and I spend a lot of time there anyway). Instead, I grab a notebook and a camera, and head to the nearest forest or my favorite spot by the river. The very walk or cycling to get there starts clearing my head. Spending some time alone in a peaceful environment helps me to shape my ideas that previously seemed so vague. On top of it all, it makes me feel recharged and makes me focused enough to start turning those ideas into actual work.
No matter if you’re an introvert or an extrovert, I think that occasionally stepping back could help you when you get stuck in a creative rut. Sure, you can also use one (or more) of many techniques to rekindle your creative flame… But sometimes, even if it sounds counterintuitive, the best way to get creative again is to let go and not to force it.
As you can conclude, I totally agree with Sean and I take these short retreats more and more often as I get older. And I’d like to hear from you: yo you tend to step back when you get stuck in a creative rut? Or you use other methods to boost creativity?