September 14, 2022

What to Do When You're Stuck

Ryan Magada

Or maybe this should be titled "What I do When I'm Stuck"...

It happens to everyone. You're trucking along, you feel inspired, you're making awesome stuff. Everyone is digging it. You're on top of the world.Then suddenly you're not.You don't know what you're doing, you're not inspired to make anything, you're second-guessing your choices, and you feel alone. What the hell do you do?

1. Feel it and know it. Call it what it is. You're Stuck.

It all starts with knowing that you're stuck. Thats easier said than done, but over time, you know your signs and symptoms. I get cranky, a little depressed, I find myself picking up books and reading 2 pages then putting them down, and I have this hollow anxiousness that I can't shake. When I realize it, I call it out loud.I'm stuck.

2. Stop searching for external solutions to solve an internal problem. 

When I realize I'm stuck, I immediately stop anything that I'm currently reading, I stop searching the bowels of the internet for inspiration, and I take a break from social media. All of those items tend to make me progressively more and more anxious as I'm reading about success, and seeing the hi-light reel of other peoples journeys.

3. Go for a walk.

Take 15 minutes and go for a walk. No headphones. No cell phone. Clear your head. Listen to the noises of traffic, birds, and feel the sun (unless you live in Ohio like me and then you can feel the clouds).

4. Meditate everyday.

As the walk clears your mind, meditation will focus your mind. I HIGHLY recommend daily meditation. You can useHeadspaceto get started and it will guide you through short exercises that will change your life. One of these exercises is to become aware of your feelings and emotions. You visualize yourself sitting on a curb in front of a busy road and you watch the emotions and feelings pass by. You don't have to interact with them, or let them harm you, but you become aware of them.

5. Make something everyday.

As you get intentional about daily meditation, get intentional about daily creation. Sit down for 10 minutes and make something with no other purpose than to kickstart your brain. There's days when I draw circles, or type, or other days when I make something really unique. There is no wrong way to do it. No pressure. JUST PLAY.You have to tease out the creativity if it went into hiding. It won't come back without an act on your part.

6. Write everything, everyday.

Morning pages. WTF are morning pages? 3 unfiltered, stream of thought, random, weird ass pages of writing. Do it. Everyday. You will be amazed at how you start to process fears, anxiety, situations, and life. It all comes out. If you don't know what to write, just write "I solemnly swear I am up to no good" until you have something else to write. Be honest. Be real. No-one will ever read these. I don't even re-read them unless I want to see what I was processing last month, last year, or even yesterday.

These 6 actions have helped me get out of a funk and get back to inspiration.

They might not be the right steps for you, but in the process you might find your 5 steps. When you do, document them. That way everytime you become aware that you're stuck, you have a process to get your mojo back.