Thursday, May 31, 2012

5 Ways to Fight Frustration

Sometimes I get mad at gravity. I mean, I’m grateful for it holding me to the earth or whatever…but when I’m frustrated it always seems to be against me.  I go to grab things, they fall to the floor. I trip over things and almost plummet to an unpleasant meeting with the carpet. Gravity (and physics for that matter…you sly little devil you) are culprits in escalating an already frustrating day.

Those times when you just can’t seem to push through a creative block or things just aren’t going your way can put a damper on whatever you’re trying to accomplish. Here are 5 tips to help get you through:

1.       Take a Break – Sometimes we get into super focus mode, when we just want to get the task at hand done by any means necessary. We sit there and stare at the same blank page or canvas or what-have-you trying to force our brains to do something…anything. These are the perfect times to take a break! Take a quick walk, watch a 30 minute tv program, take a nap…something that allows your brain to rest. When you come back to what you’re doing, you’ll have fresh eyes and be ready to go!

2.       Surf – The web that is (unless you're just that cool that you really can surf). With the wealth of brilliant work that is housed on the introwebs, there is a lot of inspiration to draw from. Hit up Youtube and browse something that will stimulate your mind. Look for examples of people you admire doing what you are trying to accomplish. This helps put you in the right frame of mind to put that admiration energy into your own work. 

3.       Talk – Sometimes when things or work exist only in our brain, they turn into this jumbled mess of all the things we think we want to do and, as a result, none of it gets done. It just stays all jumbled up in your head and you can’t sort it out and it just makes you want to get away from yourself. But you can’t. For obvious reasons. One way to untangle the web of thoughts that plague you is to find someone to explain your project or situation to. A lot of times as you begin to explain it you’ll begin to hear key words of phrases that help you gain a focus. The listening party may ask some questions that you hadn’t thought of before. 
 4.       Write – Remember when you had a class that required “free writing” in which you were forced to write in a journal about something that probably didn’t interest you? Perhaps I’m the only one who had that experience but, alas, there is some merit to that activity. Write about what ails you, don’t worry about how you sound or spelling or anything else. Just let your pen spew all thoughts that come to your brain onto the paper in a fit of writing frenzy. When you’re finished, go back and read it. You may find that something sticks out to you that you hadn’t noticed before or generate a new idea. Or you’ll just feel better having let it all out and you will be able to move on with your day. 

5.       Take an Inspiration Day – This is one of my favorite solutions. Take a day to yourself or with friends and visit the places that get your creative juices going. Go to a museum, a park, a film, a theater production, your favorite restaurant, your favorite bookstore…whatever makes your mind go to its happy place. Plan the day around one of those activities or do all of them – just make sure you situate your plans so you are not rushed. Take time to enjoy whatever treat you decide to indulge in. Take it all in, take a deep breath, and feel the rejuvenation! 

 6.       Bonus – Throw things. Yes, I do it sometimes. Don’t judge me.
I've never thrown anything this big, but if there are pens around duck and cover...
      Note: This is not helpful. You could break something (which you’ll have to pay for) or put someone’s eye out (which you’ll have to pay for. Not really sure what the rate for replacement eye balls is these days. Could get expensive). However, in this scenario you are using that pesky gravity and physics to your advantage – you are in control. Arguably one of the least helpful ideas I have ever written. You’re welcome.

Do you use any of these ideas? What are some other tips you have?

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