HOW TO GET STARTED AGAIN AFTER TAKING A BREAK.
It's never easy to take a break from creating, whether it's your full-time gig, side hustle, or just-for-the-joy-of-it personal project. Sometimes it really is necessary though, the only thing that will refresh our creative well and ensure we're taking care of our own needs, too.
Hitting pause on the creative button can leave us feeling full of guilt and disappointment, lacking in purpose, and well - a bit empty.
But once you've hit those breaks, had a few days or weeks or months to stretch out and breathe, it can be even harder to get going again.
Why did you take a break?
First, look at what prompted your break. Maybe you didn't even intentionally set out to take one (maybe you just sort of - stopped), or maybe it was something you planned for or decided on quite deliberately.
Did you need a break because you were feeling uninspired or unmotivated, for example? Or were you facing overwhelm and burn out? Both of these are perfectly valid reasons - but may require you to prepare slightly differently for your return.
Refine your goals.
Now that you've settled on the why, it's time to dig in and make a few changes. It's perfectly natural to refine and reassess goals and dreams that no longer serve you. In fact, it's absolutely necessary in keeping yourself growing and developing as a creative.
If your why was down to some form of burn out - you were stressed, exhausted, overwhelmed with everything - what can you do differently this time around? Can you set goals with less pressure? Maybe you could look at your routine and find different ways to incorporate rest and self-care alongside your creativity.
Or, if you took a break because you were lacking in inspiration or motivation, can you take a moment to refresh your creative well? You might need to spend some time mindfully consuming other's people art (films, books, art galleries - anything that normally inspires you), or you might need to redefine your personal style to help inject some joy into your work. (Read this post for tips).
Armed with some refreshed goals, you might like to take some time to prep for your return to creating. What this looks like will likely depend on your reasons for taking a break, and your new plans and dreams.
A good starting place is always your workspace. Whether you have a dedicated studio or simply create from your home kitchen table, your environment can make such a huge difference to your emotional wellbeing. Let go of clutter that isn't serving you or bringing you joy, and thoroughly clean up your space. You might find that you're holding onto things like old university work or hoarding mess that's actively preventing you from moving forwards creatively. Try to enjoy the process of creating a special place to create from and let yourself fill it up with special and meaningful things.
Another way you can prepare is by batching some new things. Maybe you'll want to get ahead with instagram photos or blog content? Having things like this created in reserve can be a great way to take some of the pressure off yourself and get you off to a flying (re)start.
Set a deadline
If you need an extra incentive to get started again, set yourself a reasonable date and stick to it. Resist the urge to perfect things too much and let yourself dive back in free from expectations and pressure.