I’m in a creative slump.
I have no shortage of ideas. My notebooks and digital wells are rife with lists of ideas, outlines, and even drafts of essays. I could mine my journals for even more topics.
But when it comes time to write, edit, and publish, I’m finding myself struggling. Lacking motivation. Wondering why I’m even doing this.
I often procrastinate until late at night and then I just don’t have the energy or focus to write much at all.
A few years ago I might have considered this to be a problem that needs to be fixed. I’d go off in search of a solution for sustaining my energy, improving focus, or any other hack that would help me create more content.
I now longer see this in those terms. In fact, it’s a bit unfair of me to call it a “slump.”
There’s no problem here; there’s nothing to fix.
This is simply part of the cycle.
All of nature operates in a rhythm of time, following the cycles of the seasons.
Human beings are no exception. Everything we do, every project we take on, every relationship we are in, follows these rhythms.
“Productivity culture” often promotes messaging around “peak performance” and prolific creation without waning. But that’s not how nature works.
Nothing stays at the peak. Like a wave, we have moments when we crest to the peak, and moments when we are in the trough.
Periods of expansion are followed by periods of contraction; in between, we have moments of pause for integration.
I’ve seen how this cycle plays out in my daily workouts, in my meditation practice, and across a range of projects.
Why would I expect my writing to be different?
When I embrace the season I’m in and accept that there’s nothing to fix, I can be with the lull without self-judgment, self-criticism, or self-aversion.
Acceptance of where I am allows me to ride out the trough with greater ease and self-compassion — and in less time. I don’t waste energy resists the slump by trying to fix or avoid it.
Instead, I lean in.
I like this mantra:
This is how it is right now.
It’s just a season. I know that if I embrace this winter of my creative cycle, there will be more fertile days ahead, because winters are inevitably followed by spring.