Now January can be great for many reasons, most of all it represents the beginning of bigger and better things. For me January can be a little bit of a downer. I wouldn’t say I get the ‘January Blues‘ as such but I definitely feel a little off beat. The only way I can explain it is that while the new year represents a fresh start and great things to come, it also reminds me that it’s still the dead of winter, we’re eons away from summer and everyone is usually strapped for cash after Christmas so there’s little going on. When this happens I feel as though I’m in a stalemate moment and time has stood still. My creativity and excitement for pretty much anything drifts away, and after that everything comes to a crashing halt.
Regardless of when these moments happen, whether it be in January or the middle of summer, there are always a few things I like to do to kick me out of the funk.
Ira Glass on the Creative process
I came across this video about two years ago and found it so enlightening and really lifts my spirits each time I listen to it. Over time it’s become a ritual of mine when I’m feeling down on myself to lay on my bed with a face mask on and listen to it on repeat. I also hone in on something different each time I listen to it.
The Crossroads of Should and Must
If you’re a long time follower, you may have read my book review on the book The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna and if you read that post than you know how much I loved that book. It was an amazing read and truly inspiring. If you want to know a little more about it than head on over to my review or keep reading for a quick rundown.
The foundation of the book is the concept of what you should do with your life versus what you must do. It’s this idea that mundane tasks like having a mortgage and settling down, or taking over the family firm could be things that you feel you should be doing however, on the other side of the spectrum there are those things you simply must do. They are so ingrained in your being and soul that you think about them day after day and the bottom line is you must do it, fulfil them. Elle Luna’s book opens your eyes to who you are. It involves some eye-opening exercises, stories of others journeys to their ‘musts’ and quotes to inspire and keep you motivated. An example drawn on in the book is the story of Mary Ellen Geist’s father, who continued to play his music even while suffering Alzheimers for thirteen years. She said in a letter that even though he had no idea what he did for a living, or where he lived, and he didn’t even know how to tie a tie or make his way to the stage on the day that he performed- his music however, and the performance was perfect. Now that is inspiring. And a perfect example of someones must. Something that is so ingrained on their being that even a plaque tearing apart their mind can’t stand in the way of it. This concept always sets my spirits soaring.
The Great Gatsby
Now this is probably a bit of an odd one but hear me out. It’s not so much the film its more Nick Caraway’s narration of it. The way its so melancholy but also thoughtful and raw. The phrase ‘within and without’ truly makes me think. It makes me take a step back and assess the situation clearer: which, when you are in a creative slump, definitely helps look at the big picture and take something for what it truly is.
The Pixar Documentary
Again, this is something I wrote a post about which you can read here but I’ll still give you a rerun. The Pixar Documentary is a behind the scenes look at how Pixar happened. It is narrated alongside interviews of everyone involved including illustrators, technicians, family members, assistants, and the three main guys that kicked it all off: the creative scientist Ed Catmull, the visionary entrepreneur Steve Jobs and talented artist John Lasseter. My favourite quote from the documentary is from Steve Jobs who says ‘Pixar’s seen by a lot of folks as an overnight success, but if you look really closely most overnight success’s took a long time’. Those words always strike me more and more powerful each time I hear them. And I mean, of course for that reason this documentary always helps me. It also helps because you get to go behind the scenes of some amazing films like Toy Story, Cars, and my personal favourite A Bug’s Life.
Now obviously these are very specific things for me personally but almost all of these things I actually heard about from other people so I think it’s always good to share and maybe someone will stumble across something they feel drawn to here. And of course, there are more general things that help me get out of a funk like getting outside and exploring somewhere new. One thing in particular which is always quite interesting is hanging around with younger or older people: generally anyone who is quite an age gap away from you. That gap can really make a difference in perspective which can be eye-opening to new things and ideas.
So those are just a few things which inspire me through a slump, what helps you?
Cheerio for now!