For the entire month of January I was in a slump mentally. I just couldn't focus on anything even remotely creative, any kind of problem-solving; even reading was a challenge.
Some of it was probably diet, some of it was other things. It surprised me, though, what broke the dam and got things flowing again.
Every year, I participate in February Album Writing Month where songwriters from all over the world to cheer each other on as we write an entire album, 14 new songs. Each.
Each January 31st I wait up 'til midnight so I can start writing the very second it's allowed (one of the very few rules at FAWM is that you can't start before it's February wherever you are.) Official challenges are posted at the website ("Title involving a color " "Mangled cliché" or this year's first, "Photograph") to inspire you if you need it.
I started writing a song and it just wouldn't come out. Last year, I had a song written and demo recorded to post at the website by 3 a.m. but this year, at 2 a.m. I just went to bed, mulling over the lyrics I couldn't write.
I woke up with the song almost fully written in my head, and had a demo recorded within a couple hours.
And then, they just kept coming. I've written and recorded eight songs in seven days, and I've intentionally avoided doing any musical work this week to focus on other kinds of work. Still, I have eight more song ideas on the whiteboard on the wall behind me.
It's not just music, either. I'm suddenly having ideas for blog posts, solving web design problems, creating graphic designs for my wife's clients, organizing projects under tight time constraints. I'm thinking more clearly, I have more mental and physical energy, and as a result, feel better both emotionally and physically.
Creativity transcends boundaries. Even when you chased it with a stick instead of waiting for inspiration.
(If you're so inclined, you can listen to the wildly eclectic music I've written this year at the February Album Writing Month website.