According to Christine Mason Miller, a mixed-media artist and author of Desire to Inspire: Using Creative Passion to Transform the World, it’s normal to experience ebbs and flows in your creativity. A creative rut, however, goes beyond these regular vacillations and lasts longer, she said.
Mason Miller believes that a sense of powerlessness contributes to creative dry spells. “It is challenging to tap into our creative well if we are dealing with unsettling issues related to our health, family dynamics, friendships, professional environment and finances,” she said.
Jolie Guillebeau, an artist who uses paintings as a way to tell stories, views fear as the biggest factor in creative ruts. “I find myself afraid to change things, because they’re working, then I find myself in a rut.” For Guillebeau, that rut can lead to self-doubt, which only fuels her fear, becoming “an ugly spiral.”
In the same vein, “habitual ways of thinking and reacting” sabotage creativity, according to Keri Smith, an illustrator and author of several bestselling books on creativity, including Finish this Book. “It is often tempting to recreate our past successes but this does not lead to new ideas and conclusions,” she said.
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