November 26

Every creative pro experiences peaks and troughs of productivity. At times, it seems like you are on fire, have plenty of energy, and could go on at your current pace forever. Then, you inexplicably hit a wall and your output suddenly changes. You are in a trough with no clear explanation why.

When you have high expectations, it’s tempting to believe that the solution to consistently impressive productivity is to remove the troughs so that you have no “off” moments. The problem with this approach is that by removing the troughs you also inadvertently remove the peaks. You will force yourself into a very narrow bandwidth of productivity that is predictable, but also stale.

To be effective, you must embrace the rhythmic nature of the creative process. The peaks are inexplicably linked to the troughs. There must be downtime to accompany your frenetic “up” time. Every hill you climb means an eventual valley to endure.

The key is to not resent the troughs, but to instead recognize them as seasons when your creative process has gone “underground” for a while. Use those trough moments to learn, to look for new opportunities, and to rest.

The creative process has peaks and troughs. Instead of resenting the troughs, learn from them and leverage them to look for new opportunities.

Question: Are you in a creative peak or trough right now? What does that mean for you?

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