Have you ever wanted to do something but you’re in a slump? You just can’t get moving or inspired? Maybe you want to write a story or a blog post… but you just sit there, staring at an empty white page with a blinking cursor.
To be perfectly honest, that’s how I felt today, trying to write a blog post. After starting one and getting about halfway through, I discarded it. I didn’t know what to write. I had my whole list of blog post ideas sitting by me, but my brain was empty (well, let’s hope it’s not quite empty… ;P). I passed ideas through my mind: I could write a post with tips on how to prepare for a productive week, but productivity tips seem to be all I’ve been writing lately. So I decided to write about what I’m facing at the moment.
I guess that these ideas could be counted as productivity tips (if they end up being useful). But mainly, I’m just recounting my process tonight that got this post into your hands… or computer, technically. Whatever.
#1 – Just Try Something
I was tempted to just give up and not write a blog post. But I’ve committed to a blog post every other week, and I really want to stick to that. I don’t want to give up not even one month into the year. So I tried something. Like I already said, it didn’t work. But I tried. And it got my mind thinking about what to write. After I deleted that half-finished post that was no good, I sat looking at a blank page for several minutes. I tried out a couple different ideas. I didn’t really have anything that felt right.
#2 – Walk Away
To tell the absolute truth, this wasn’t my choice tonight. Sometimes I’ll just sit there until I think of something. But tonight (I write most of my blog posts on Friday nights and schedule them for the following Monday), Mom needed me to help make homemade pizza for supper. So I had to walk away.
#3 – Come Back
Duh, Rachel. If you’ve decided to do something and then walk away, you have to come back to it.
Anyway. When I sat back down with my laptop, I had a fresh and brilliant idea.
I can write about what to do when you don’t know what to do!
And then I sat there for a few more minutes.
Okay… I don’t know what to do. So now what do I do?
#4 – Start Doing
So I just started writing. I wasn’t sure exactly where I was going with this idea, but I knew I had to start somewhere. And even though I had tried before, this time I’ve made a little headway (as you can hopefully tell… since I’ve gotten this far on this post…).
#5 – Don’t Give Up
I didn’t give up. And I have a blog post. Most of one, at least. And I know I’ll finish it.
In all seriousness…
Okay, okay. I know I’ve been a bit sarcastic in this post. But really, the main thing that I want to stress is just do something. When you’re stuck in a slump and/or you don’t know what to do, think about a baby step that you can take that will help get you where you hope you’ll end up. And often, it just takes getting started to get your creativity and/or productivity juices flowing.
I use this tip all the time. Nine times out of ten, all I need to do to get out of my slump is to just start doing something. And it applies to all areas of life, not just writing a blog post. When I used to take piano lessons and I really didn’t want to practice, I would make myself sit down at the piano and practice for just 10-15 minutes. Often, I would end up at the piano for over an hour. This week when I had afternoons where I knew I needed to do something productive but didn’t know what, I had to make myself sit down and do something, like hand lettering practice. Usually, that led to another productive task.
I also read somewhere that a good way to just make yourself do something is to train yourself to do it at the count of 1, counting down from 5. Supposedly, if you train yourself to do this with little things, it’ll help you be able to get moving on big things too. I’ve just started on the little things, such as getting out of bed, or at least throwing back the covers and sitting up.
So, next time you don’t know what to do to get out of a slump (or you’re just bored), just do something. Perhaps you could make a list of small, productive tasks to prepare you for those times. Then when you don’t know what to do, consult the list and pick one thing.
Do you ever not know what to do next? What are some things that you do to help get you out of a slump? Please share in the comments!