The Creative Funk
While I can’t speak for all creatives, I know I can speak for Jacob and myself when I say, we all get The Creative Funk.
What is it? Well, I’m no doctor, but, I’ve watched a few on TV, and it seems to me that it’s some sort of depressive state… Oooo. Fancy… Yeah… I just made that up. But, seriously, it just seems to hit us sometimes.
While there feels like there’s some randomness to it, there’s always a reason, be it personal or professional.
For us, it seems to hit at two particular times: after we’ve finished a project and the hype has died down, and when we’re in limbo waiting on some projects to finally launch start happening.
So, what do we do about it? Again, I’m no doctor, but, I’ve found some things that work for me.
Before I dive into some things to try to overcome this obstacle, it’s worth mentioning that surfing Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Myspace (if you live under a rock), is not a good way to battle this and can typically lead you to spiral down further. Also, curling up with a blanket, eating your comfort food and binge-watching This Is Us, is probably not the best idea either.
So, what do you do?
Better question: What do I do?
What do I do?
These are some things that work for me (and do keep in mind that some of these are directed more at creative professionals and not so much hobbyists, although anyone can give them a shot):
MAKE A CONTACT LIST
The first couple of months of the year are typically the hardest for us because nothing is really going on. With that, it’s easy to get down and feel worthless. So, what did I do? I made a list of people that we could reach out to, either meeting someone new or reconnecting with someone we’ve worked with before. Once you have the list, add things to talk to them about. For instance, we are offering some new services that may, indeed rekindle a working relationship.
In its basic form, this is setting some goals for yourself, and when you set achievable goals, you make progress, which makes you feel good and can un-funkify you.
MAKE A TO-DO LIST
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but, there’s always something that needs to be done, although it’s not important enough to get any special attention, it’s something to do when there’s nothing to do. Most of the time, this is no fun, but, if you’ve been lacking in focus and direction, you’ll start to find that you are feeding off of having something to focus on and, when your mind is set to the task, you find some new energy that will lead you to feel motivated to do some other things.
This one is rarely the first one I go to even though I get a lot of lasting satisfaction out of it. Being honest, why do you think I’m writing this article?
Find something you know about and write about it. Most people will take to journalling, and I did that a lot too, however, I find that if I share my thoughts, maybe someone else can find value in it and that makes me feel good.
The other side to this, is that you may shed some light on something for yourself. I like to think of it as an epiphany. That, in itself, is medicine for your soul. It tells you that you are smarter than you think or feel you are and these small revelations can be just the boost you need.
It may also help you sort through troublesome situations.
GO FOR A WALK
This one has been really big for me, this last year. While it hasn’t been a creative outlet, it has been something else for me.
Just over a year ago, our family suffered a huge loss. We called her Honey. She was Jacob’s and my maternal grandmother. She was in a car accident that led to a string of events that ultimately led to her leaving us much sooner than any of us would have liked. While I had had several really hard cries during her time in ICU and shortly after her funeral, but, as many people do, I started unintentionally bottling it up. I would see something on TV or hear a song or any number of things, and I would feel myself start to tear up and I would shove it down because I didn’t want anyone to ask me about it. Why? I don’t know.
Having attended and graduating Pathways Core Training, it was time for me to refresh the last part of the training and I went in wanting to find out why I was having trouble still grieving. My revelation was that I was fighting it and needed some way to just let it out when it came up.
I settled on, whenever I would get hit with sadness, plugging into my iPod and listening to music that reminded me of Honey and I would cry it out. From there, I would put on a playlist of music that I find inspiring and just catch my breath again.
This one is kind of heavy, but, it really works for me and it just lets the negative out to make room for fresh air.
WATCH A MOVIE
Before you go and get all up in arms over this one, just hear me out. There are some movies that I find particularly uplifting. Recently, we published a Movie of the Week article that I wrote about the movie “The Pursuit of Happyness.” That movie really does pull me out of a funk. It’s a true rags-to-riches story about a man who persevered and succeeded.
Another one that I’ll watch is Disney’s “Inside Out.” That one gets me every time. It may sound silly, but, it helps me identify what’s causing the funk for me.
Now, I get an added benefit being in the video production industry in that I watch movies and TV for inspiration.
While I’m not going to advocate spending hours and hours watching videos with cats playing pianos or a military dad showing up at his daughter’s graduation (yes, those can make you feel good, but, they can turn into a lot of wasted time), I will search youtube for educational/inspirational content.
A lot of the time, our creative funk comes from a lack of motivation or inspiration. For us, we have a ton of go-to content either on YouTube or just educational courses that we’ve acquired throughout the years that will give us something to focus on and maybe inspire us to write a script or just get out a camera and try something new.
So, whatever it is that you do, find someone that inspires you and watch their work.
Like I said before, these are just some things that work for me, particularly, and I hope you can find some value in them.
Having said that, I, again, am not a doctor or professional counselor and if you are in a dark place, please, seek professional help.
Hamil Bros Studios is a high quality video production company based in Lubbock, TX. Their work spreads throughout West Texas, Eastern New Mexico, and beyond.