The creative rut

Wouldn’t it be brilliant if our creative ideas flowed constantly like water? Most individuals from the artistic industry, at some point, get stuck in a situation called a creative rut. However, they know they can’t afford to get stuck. Because it makes them feel really uninspired, frustrated, and mainly lacking new and unique ideas.

Don’t worry! It is standard for everyone to experience some ebbs and flows in their concept-generating capabilities. It is possible to discover inspiration in absolutely everything from the surrounding environment. Getting out of a rut is amazingly easy to do once you genuinely understand what a rut is.

Simply put, ruts are the inevitable byproduct of repetitive work

First of all, ruts are typically triggered by monotonous tasks. Almost all of us, regardless of our age and occupation, engage in some kind of repetitive work.

A rut is pure muscle memory. It manifests in our daily actions, our foreseeable future, and our life pursuits. The first necessary step to getting out of a rut is to accurately identify what kind of rut we are in. Or more importantly, what kind of rut we want to bust out of.

There are three types of creative ruts

  • The short term rut 
  • The mid-term rut 
  • The long-term rut

Short-term ruts

Short-term ruts are ones of daily repetition. They typically manifest as a series of unconscious decisions that lead to anticipated results. If you were a designer, you might discover yourself using the same fonts or designing in similar grid structures. If you are an artist, you may find yourself repeatedly attracted to similar color palettes, or you rarely stray away from the same type of application instruments. 

They can also show up as consistent patterns of behavior or established routines of a specific process. Truthfully, most ruts by heart are short term ruts. The unique key to enhancing them is to engage in unfamiliar short-term experiences regularly.

Mid-term ruts

Mid-term ruts, however, deserve more investigation. Have you ever returned from an event or holiday and felt especially motivated to begin positive changes in your life? Perhaps you wanted to improve in a certain area or develop a new skill? So, you undertook the immediately actionable steps to achieve that lofty goal, knowing you wouldn’t achieve it right away.

We often think about long term objectives and we start short-term actions to get there. But few of us ever think about the middle. The middle consists of a combination of larger steps we can take, as well as shorter goals we can achieve to help us meet our long-term objectives. These mid-term directives need a bit of detailed planning. But they never require extensive life changes to achieve. 

If short-term rut busting involves steps to reach a goal, mid-term rut busting involves strides that are a combination of both steps and goals. 

Long-term ruts

On top of all that, there are long-term ruts. We engage in the practice of long-term rut busting every year on January 1st. You guessed it, the tradition of New Year’s resolutions.

Resolutions are long-term goals you set for ourselves. Positive changes we would like to see in our life. They’re easy to set and difficult to keep because some of us rarely decide on an action plan on how to achieve these goals. We simply fill out our wish list and hope for the best to make resolutions stick.

We have to be willing to make a significant change. Not just willing to accept the benefit that change will produce. All goals demand an actionable plan, accountability, and faith to transform our unique journey into success.


Everybody should know that anything built over time takes time to change too. We must never get discouraged and always strive to move forward. Identify the slight changes we get in our energy, enthusiasm, and everyday work. Simply to let those small changes encourage us to stay active on the track of our creative pursuits.

We control our rut. It doesn’t control us. We can choose to banish it any time we want. If in need of a place to start, stay active, and eagerly watch for the danger signs of the routine taking hold. If we ever fall into a creative rut, we must call it out. Then get to busting it! 

What kind of rut do you demand to bust?