I could describe this with other words: apathy, indifference, or resignation. I used the phrase, “shut down” because it’s an action that illustrates the above emotions. What you shut down are the sensory, emotional, and caring mechanisms.

No one likes your idea? Who cares?

You just got another rejection for a creative project? So what?
You haven’t had an original idea in three months? Big deal.

You’re starting to feel dull, slightly rancid, and claustrophobic? It’s better than getting hurt or having your hopes raised, only to have them crash once more to the ground.

A brief interval of being shut down probably does no harm. When the heart aches beyond endurance and the nerve endings are beyond frayed, a period of retreat provides a vacation for the overwrought. “Brief,” however, is the defining adjective.

Beneath the layer of anesthesia that numbs the pain, your imagination, hopes, and dreams still live. If you continually suppress them, you could end up feeling far unhappier than you did when you were suffering defeat. There’s a good reason for this: the only one responsible for this pain is you, and you know it.


If you’ve reached the point where you can’t conjure up any enthusiasm for either continuing a current project or starting a new one, allow yourself a vacation, but, if you can, skip the Novocaine.

Spend your checking-out time enjoying yourself. Be with friends. Express your creativity by enjoying that of others. Listen to music you love, read, watch movies. Be kind to yourself and look for ways to make yourself happy.

Get back to where you once belonged. Ask yourself why you express your creativity? Is it for the approval of others? Or is it because it gives you pleasure to do so? If you can remember that you do it for the love of it, you’re on the road to reliving that feeling. Once the feeling is renewed, the creative spark that gives you life will re-ignite, and its fire will warm you once again.