How To Wake Up From A Deep Creative Hibernation

If you haven’t created in a certain form for a while, or if you haven’t created in any form for a while, it’s easy to start to wonder not when you’ll create again, but if you’ll ever create again.

Whilst creativity is something that can be exercised, trained and strengthened, it can’t be killed.

So when you feel like you’ve forgotten how to be creative, that’s not actually the case at all. Your creativity is not gone and lost, it’s just resting, in hibernation, but ready to return anytime you want.

image: Danny McL

If you were a tiny animal in hibernation, then how would you want to awaken as the soil warmed and first blooms of spring unfurled?

Having been in a deep sleep it’s highly unlikely you’d jump up and starting singing and dancing in an instant. It’s far more realistic to imagine yourself coming back to consciousness slowly, gently, letting each of your limbs and muscles and senses unfold and readjust to the environment around you.

That way, you can awaken gradually, not with a sharp shock.

It’s the same with being creative. If you’ve not created much for a while, the worst thing you can do is have huge expectations, and begin a large complex project.

For example, maybe you haven’t written much for the last year. To set yourself the task of writing a novel in the next ten days is likely to end in disappointment and frustration, and possibly plunge you back into an even deeper creative hibernation.

Instead, be kind to yourself. Start small, start slowly, let yourself unravel gently.

Even super fit athletes who train every day will warm up each time before a training session or  a competitive event. If a marathon runner gets injured and doesn’t run for three months, they don’t return to fitness by attempting to run a marathon as soon as they can walk again. They start slowly, and build.

I spoke recently of the accumulation of small steps, and how powerful it can be.

The same applies here. Ease yourself out of creative hibernation by creating for just 10 or 15 minutes. Do something simple and small, like writing a few lines, sketching, taking a photo or two.

Don’t expect to create something huge, or something perfect, and remember to be kind to yourself. Then do the same tomorrow.

The more steadily you build, the stronger and more robust your creativity becomes, meaning creative hibernation for the species of your creativity will become extinct.

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