How to break out of a creative rut

I'm in a creative rut. I haven't been inspired to photograph anything for a while now. I shoot the things I'm required to photograph -- for clients, etc. I just haven't just gone out and created something I loved -- just for me -- like so many of the members of our Photo Projects 2013 Google + community are doing.

Intellectually, I know how to break the rut. I know a half a dozen creativity drills that are designed to arrest the doldrums, but I'm just not inspired to do any of them. Project 365, 100 Strangers, or photo challenges of the week have just bored me.


Have you ever found yourself in a creative rut? If so, you aren't alone. All creatives go through the highs and lows of inspiration. I'm working through it and found some great advice from a marketing site called Copyblogger. The site is designed for writers, but I think the tips can also work for photographers.



Here are five ideas I am trying to get the creativity flowing:


1. Take pictures without my camera. Have you ever just went for a walk without your camera and looked for all the great shots you would have taken? Sometimes the woulda coulda helps me see more than I would if I had the pressure of my camera.


2. Create something ugly. Sometimes what we are experiencing is really perfection paralysis. We aren't creating the National Geographic covers, so we just stop shooting. Better to do nothing, right? Wrong. Just go shoot without the pressure of creating anything special. Tell yourself you are going to shoot something ugly. Just shoot anyway… and keep shooting.


3. Force yourself to fail. Take on a project that feels outside your comfort zone. Do the thing you think you cannot do. Forcing yourself to stretch might fuel your creativity.


4. Read an inspiring book. Find a book or photos that really inspire you. Immerse yourself in images and ideas that make you need to pick up your camera and create.


5. Do something. Anything. Newton's first low of motion still applies. "An object at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by a force. An object in motion remains in motion…unless acted upon by a force." It's easier to break the rut once you start shooting.


I'll be working on something over the next week to break my rut. Telling you is one of my strategies. If I put myself on record, I am more likely to push through.


How do you break out of your creative rut? Share your ideas or strategies below.