5 Ways to Overcome Inertia and Recover from a Creativity Slump

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Title graphic for Hillary Weiss blog post titled 5 Ways to Overcome Inertia and Recover from a Creativity Slump.

Hey Friend,

First things first, credit where it’s due:

Props to my Celebrity Memoir Book Club podcast queens Claire and Ashley, who coined “Ugliest Girl in the World Attack” for days when you’re just… not feelin’ yourself.

Creatives experience a similar phenomenon— so I’m adapting the idea here as a “Most Uncreative Girl in the World Attack“.

’Cuz sometimes, we sit there grasping for an idea that’s somehow funny, pithy, smart, and original all at once…

… And it just. doesn’t. come.

So we begin to we beat ourselves up with thoughts like:

All I can think about are things other people have said 1,000 TIMES. Have I ever even had an original thought???

Wait, am I just a bad copy of my coach /mentor/ person I admire / teacher’s ideas?!?!??

I’m so dumb. Everyone else is so smart and cool and witty I wanna barf.

Why am I even here? IS THIS HOW I DIE???”

How to Survive a MUGITWA and Recover Your Mojo

Ok my sweet, beloved creative queen (or king or gentlethey!)

First off, pls don’t set your laptop on fire and flee to the desert for 40 years.

As you probably know by now, this is an unfortunate but VERY normal part of the creative process.

And I’ve got some tips for how to slow down, even stop, the attack.

Do You Need a Nap?

Tip 1: If a MUGITWA is happening, you’re probably exhausted.

Rest + come back later. And I don’t mean 30 minutes from now (though if that’s all you have, plz take it)!

I mean a few days. 3 tend to be the magic number for me.

If it’s not ACTUALLY urgent, go do/think about/tackle something else. Let your subconscious chip away at things for a sec.

When you return, you’ll at least know whether the idea is worth tackling again.

Boost Your Creativity by Refilling Your Cup

Tip 2: A MUGITWA most often happens when you’re trying to pour from an empty inspiration cup.

Ask yourself: when was the last time you did something creative just for fun, or took in some content that wasn’t prestige or business-related?

Sure, going to a museum might be a great choice, too. But when was the last time you just soaked up some silly, pointless stuff you enjoy?

Happiness and a wandering mind are secret weapons for connecting dots. Use them.

Friends in Low Places Might Be an Inspiration…

Tip 3: Stop treating every post or idea like it has to be the Second Coming.

Sometimes, a lil’ 💩 post goes a long way.

If you feel the need to appease to the algorithm gods while you chill for a sec? Take the pressure off. Think dumber.

Throw some memes out there. Make jokes. Share silly one-liners (with credit). Post a stupid photo and a funny story.

Find an idiotically easy way to show up for a sec while you figure the rest out. You might be surprised how much people love it.

Stop Trying To Outguess Your Audience

Tip 4: Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to be a genius in the first place.

One thing I’ve learned in 12 years of content? Genius is in the eye of the beholder.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve ACTUALLY poured deep effort into an idea or post only to have it flop…

… And meanwhile, that thing I threw out there as an afterthought because I thought it was cool is what everyone remembers.

You truly just never know, man.

And if You Still Have to Get That Idea Out There…

Tip 5: Try coming at it another way.

  • consider how a favorite fictional character would say/approach it
  • make a tiny tweak (one word, one piece of the idea) and see if that feels better
  • Ask yourself: “What does this mean to me, REALLY?”
  • Do something old in a new way, or new in an old way

Above all? Remember: this level of creative output is just HARD for humans to maintain.

Be kind to yourself. It’ll pass.

Love you,

Photo by Giorgio Manenti on Unsplash

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