It happens to everyone. That feeling of either not knowing what to do next, or even which direction to go, and regardless of hard you try you can not get moving. The project comes to a standstill, nothing seems to come together and you wonder will I ever get through this and will I remain stuck forever? It has happened to me on numerous occasions. I become nearly paralyzed with an inability to keep moving forward, it does feel like being stuck in the mud or snow. It is as if I am spinning my wheels and making no progress. When you have the feeling of being stuck how do you become “unstuck?”
Here are some ways that I have found to be helpful when I am ‘stuck.’
- Journal. This is one of the many benefits to journaling. I read back over the past several days to look for clues as to why I am feeling this way and seek to discover a way forward. At times just writing out how I feel and my own impression of what is going on has given me clarity. There have been times as I read the last week or two of entries that I have gained an insight into my present difficulty. Sometimes just writing my feelings in my journal is the catalyst to a new insight or idea.
- Prayer. At times while in a ‘stuck’ season I have sounded a little like the Psalmist: “How long O Lord”, I declare. There is a comfort that comes from knowing I am not alone, and that even when I am stuck, there is an all-knowing and all-loving God who cares about me. Prayer is a help regardless of what experiences are happening at the moment.
- Talk to a friend or mentor. At times I am too close to the situation and may not see what a trusted friend or mentor is able to see. Often just talking it through with someone else, I begin to see new possibilities that had escaped me before. Wise counsel can really assist with this problem and is always in order. There is a blessing in having friend, especially friends that you can count on to listen and offer good advice.
- Change up your routine. It is easier to get stuck when you are in a rut. Do something out of ordinary, or at least work on things in a different order than normal. Doing something different or at least in a new way can help us regain momentum. It may be time for a change.
- Take a break. Feeling stuck could be a sign that you need to take a break. Go outside, take your family somewhere, go to a ballgame, get away for an hour, or a day. Time away could be the tonic that you need.
- Make a list. Ray Bradbury the science-fiction writer indicated that when he was stuck he would often just start listing random nouns on a piece of paper and he would continue with writing the list until he ran out of words. Often times these words would appear in his next book. I love lists! So, when I am stuck, I start with a topic and begin writing a list and on occasion this has helped me to become “unstuck.”
- Try something new. I have found nothing helps me more with creativity than trying something new. I have used this theory and made gingerbread cookies, something I had never done, went on a zip-line, and went to a circus museum. Not because I had a burning desire to do these things, but because they are different than what I do normally. Just doing something new or learning to do something has helped me a few times when I could not get moving on a project.
I would love to hear some of your ideas on this subject.
Do not give, you have come too far to quit.