The Creative Rut...

Oct. 27, 2012By: Jamie Schultz

I don't know about you, but around this time of year I start to feel myself slide into what some refer to as a "creative rut". Perhaps it's because for the past three months I've been running around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to squeeze in photo sessions before the cold weather sets in making it next to impossible to shoot outdoors Whatever the case may be I've come to expect I'll be hit with this feeling around this time each and every year. Thankfully, I've read some great books that have helped me not only understand what causes creative droughts, but have also provided me with strategies to move past them. I can't help but think that there are others out there feeling frustrated and/or bored with their work so I thought I'd share a few of my favorite reads on the topic. For the record, these are books that I pull out over and over again (as you might be able tell by the tattered covers) as they serve as a constant source of inspiration when I need it.

First up is "The Sound of Paper" by Julia Cameron. This book, while it's geared toward writers, is filled with specific exercises that almost any creative type could practice during a creative drought. The author outlines practical and useful steps that encourage creativity and finding your own voice/style. What I took away from this book is that as an artist I should anticipate a lull in my creative process and rather than trying to force my way out of it, instead I should embrace and use that time to self reflect.

Next is "The Happiness Project" which isn't directly related to inspiring creativity, but so many of the projects/tasks the author writes about are things that could definitely benefit most anyone who finds oneself uninspired. Whether it's reading a children's book, serving others, making time for friends, etc... The concepts aren't earth shattering, however if you're looking for things that might invite a little happiness into your life you might find it here.

The last book is "The Creative Habit"by Twyla Tharp. The back of the book reads as follows:

All it takes to make creativity a part of your life is the willingness to make it a habit. It is the product of preparation and effort, and is within reach of everyone. Whether you are a painter, musician, businessperson, or simply an individual yearning to put your creativity to use, The Creative Habit provides you with thirty-two practical exercises based on the lessons Twyla Tharp has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career.In "Where's Your Pencil" Tharp reminds you to observe the world -- and get it down on paper. In "Coins and Chaos," she gives you an easy way to restore order and peace. In "Do a Verb," she turns your mind and body into coworkers. In "Build a Bridge to the Next Day," she shows you how to clean the clutter from your mind overnight.

Tharp leads you through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts and into productive grooves. The wide-open realm of possibilities can be energizing, and Twyla Tharp explains how to take a deep breath and begin...

So, long story short, if you're feeling stuck creatively...I would highly recommend these books!

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