Getting Back on Track (Maxine Waters Style)

As soon as I learned to read and write, you couldn’t pay me to stop. I would spend hours and hours writing stories and exchanging them with my best friend. I would keep diaries filled with my thoughts and experiences which were always slightly fabricated to make for a more interesting read. After story writing came poetry. Those days of writing were so much fun. I didn’t have to meet certain standards, come up with the perfect eye-catching intro, or overthink my creative process—I didn’t even know I had a creative process! I really miss those days because even though my love for writing hasn’t changed, I’ve been struggling to get my ideas out onto paper. Nothing that I’m writing is good enough; nothing that I’m DOING feels good enough. The days turned into weeks and before I knew it, I hadn’t written a single thing worth sharing in months.

Originally this piece was to offer tips for pulling yourself out of a slump but as I struggled, I realized it was premature. I was writing and offering these tips that yes, I’d been implementing, but I couldn’t nail the tone. I was pretending the days of feeling low on myself and not feeling motivated were behind me. They are not. I could feel the phony and that is not who I am.

As I always do when I’m having a hard time, I dove within. Soul searching is never easy but if you’re willing to be honest, it is always worth it. Overextending myself had become a habit. For some people, it works. I am not one of those people *Hey Introverts, I know y’all feel me on this one!*  Instinctually, I knew that I needed to slow down. My first order of business was to make myself and my work a priority. I reserved an entire weekend for myself. That meant no lunch dates, no networking events, no photoshoots, NOTHING. For once, I needed my own undivided attention. Crossing things off of my personal to-do list instantly opened up more space in my schedule, and mind, to do other things.

My next order of You-Have-To-Get-Up-Out-This-Slump business was disconnecting from social media. Queue the gasps. Social media is amazing. I mean, who doesn’t love Instagram? That doesn’t mean I can’t profess my love for it and critique it in the same breath. Sometimes, I catch myself scrolling and consuming in an almost zombie-like trance. I find myself in deep holes with one post leading to another and three million clicks later I don’t know where I am or what day it is. Putting down social media helped me find the time I didn’t think I had. More time to write, to create, to enjoy.

So, how do you pull yourself out of a slump? I don’t really know the answer to that. Your process may look different than mine but I think it starts with reclaiming your time.

Natacha JohnComment