The Truth Behind a Creative Slump

by / ⠀Personal Branding Startup Advice / September 21, 2010

Initially I set out to write an informative piece on how to help entrepreneurs get over those creative slumps by doing some research and providing helpful advice. I wanted to create a set of rules and practices to help them continue trucking. I then found myself in my own creative hole not being sure where to begin or how to approach the task…

So I changed my approach and reached out to some respected bloggers and published authors whom I admire and see what they do in order to get back to work and found the inspiration for this article which isn’t much different but addresses the real problem entrepreneurs face which isn’t creative slumps but procrastination.

Seth Godin author of All Marketers are Liars and other books targeted at help aspiring entrepreneurs wisely said:

“People don’t have talking slumps or driving slumps. I think a professional creative person finds a way to keep cranking, even if it’s not their best work. Work leads to work. A slump is a crutch.”

These words packed the punch I needed to realize that a “creative slump” is really procrastination in disguise. A creative slump is in fact nothing more than a crutch we create in order to justify why we cannot finish or even begin the task. We all do it in our own ways and the first step is to accept what is really happening and admit it to yourself…


Understanding the subconscious reasons we stop working which we call creative slumps is how we are going to learn to turn procrastination in to productivity.

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Perfectionism– Trying to complete a task flawlessly from the very beginning, which is rarely ever done, takes a lot of work that in term leads to a lot of stress, which finally results in procrastination. Why? Because your brain will begin to associate that stress with the task and willy try to avoid it by postponing it. Worrying about producing a perfect product leads to waiting until every bit of research and avenue under the sun has been explored first before any work can be done.

Fear of failure- leads to elaborate preparatory practices or avoidance activities that delay performing a task, such as deciding  your laundry must be done ironed and folded to set the prefect mood before you begin that project thus avoiding the task. Fear can sometimes be a big motivator but it can also be a huge reinforcement not to actually get much done.

Disorganization- Tackling the easiest task first, regardless of whether they are urgent or not. More urgent or difficult task, as a result begin to pile up as they are put off. Eventually these urgent tasks must be attended to and the current task gets pushed aside to focus on the immediate urgent task. Every new task or opportunity that arises has to be dealt with first before going to work on the most urgent task. When you are disorganized, something always seems to come up.

Over-reliance on technology- My phone died, my laptop died, my ipod died you are now disconnected from the world on your own deserted island. Unable to produce a single thought since all of the tools you need to be productive have decided to go on strike.

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Roy Roca is an intern at Under30CEO.

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