4 Simple Steps to Overcome a Content Creation Slump
If you identify as a creative of any type, chances are that you’ve reached a point where you’ve struggled with the ominous “mental block.” But what do you do when things are going great and you’ve committed to an audience, but all of a sudden your creative content flow comes to a screeching halt?! Here are four simple steps to overcome the dreaded content creation slump!
Step One: Consume content that inspires you.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the cycle of constantly producing. It is so important to remember that, while creating can be fun, if we don’t take time to pause and do some of the things that got us started in the first place, we can easily burn out. Typically, when I find myself in a creative rut, I eventually identify that my level of consuming things that inspire me, encourage me and give me those aha! moments has plummeted significantly.
Part of creating is letting other creators inspire you, encourage you and reignite the flame. But we’re not only discussing social media here. The most inspiring creator is the ultimate Creator. Go for a walk to soak in God’s creation, or pick up a book you’ve been wanting to read; rediscover that poetry you love. If you’re feeling stuck, take a moment to pause, stop producing and consume something that lights you up. Before you know it, that fire will be back and you’ll be jotting down notes, outlining new podcast episodes, writing new devos and thinking of new chapter ideas.
Step Two: Listen to your audience.
We’ve all heard it before: “Your audience will tell you everything you need to create.”
As a creator, this can be frustrating, especially when we have our own agendas. But when you’re in a content slump, your audience is a gold mine! Take some time to survey your audience. Ask them what content of yours they love most or what they are hoping for more of. One of the really cool things about social media is you can put up a question box in your stories and say something like “Ask me anything.” One simple question can spark an entire podcast episode, blog post or book idea.
Another thing you can do is read through podcast reviews, book reviews or comments on your social media and blog posts. I might read a review that says something like, “I love this podcast because it talks about finances. I cannot wait to learn more about budgeting.” This would tell me that not only does this listener find my episodes about budgeting valuable, but they want more! From that review, I could then brainstorm things I had not covered about budgeting and then turn that into multiple episodes.
Regardless of the size of your audience, there is value in listening to your followers. You don’t need 100,000 or 10,000 or even 1,000 members in your community to utilize this option!
Step Three: Set aside time for silence and journaling.
One of my favorite quotes is by Flannery O’Connor, and she says, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
At times I have found myself at a loss for words because my words are tangled. I’ve got so many thoughts trying to escape at once that, in the end, none of them do. When this happens, I find that a good old-fashioned “brain dump” does wonders. Brain dumps can happen in the form of lists, random scribbles of to-dos on a piece of paper, beautiful journal entries with emotions you’ve been holding in or all of the above.
You really can only go wrong one way: not getting the words out. If you feel this might be the case for you, schedule a time to be alone in silence, grab a pen and paper, and just start with one word. You might just write the same word repeatedly, but before you know it, one word will turn in two two. And then two words into a complete thought. Not only will this process help you feel like a huge weight has been lifted, but it just might open the doors to your very next piece of inspired work.
Step Four: If all else fails, it’s OK to pause.
At the end of the day, sometimes there are seasons in life where finding time to create becomes more of a burden than a blessing. If you’re in a season where you’ve exhausted all options and it’s still not happening for you, take a breath and give yourself some grace.
We are human, and breaks are necessary. There’s nothing more respectable than being honest about where you are in life and leaning into whatever season you’re in. Some of the most beautiful revelations have come from my forced pauses. If you’re feeling the nudge to do so, then pause with all of your heart. Your pen and paper, your microphone and headphones, and your audience will all be waiting for you to make your return when you’re ready with a fresh perspective. Maybe you’ll even return to share all that you’ve learned in the season you’re in.
Nothing is wasted.
Are you feeling a nudge to pause and rest, or are you simply working through a content slump? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Pausing and resting are necessary for me to be able to create content. Sometimes reliving moments I want to share can be emotionally draining and I need to take a step back. I used to feel guilty about that but now I’m aware of what God needs me to do to be healthy and to share His message in an encouraging way with my readers. Thanks so much for your reminders and tips.
So Glad you found it helpful, and I could not agree more!
I have been trying to decide on the story I want to tell in a book but I’m having trouble deciding which story to write…..(I have many). I need an opinion on what might work. Would you be willing to help me with this?
Would love to help Sheryl! You can find me over in the Compel podcasting community group. There are also wonderful community groups specifically for writing. I am praying for you as you try to determine where God is leading you.
Yes and Amen, sister 🙂
I am emerging from a slump and feeling ready to run. But, I am taking time to pause.
Your entire post is so helpful and encouraging. Here are two quotes that resonate with me:
“If you’re feeling stuck, take a moment to pause, stop producing and consume something that lights you up.”
“One of my favorite quotes is by Flannery O’Connor, and she says, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.””
Thank you for making a difference in my day!