It’s hard to be creative all the time.

Whether you’re a writer, artist, musician, or graphic designer (wink), there are times when you feel like you’ve hit a wall and are completely incapable of new ideas. For me, this cycle rears its ugly head a couple times per year. Right about now is one of those times.

One of the main challenges of creativity is the pressure to constantly produce original and innovative work. This pressure can be self-imposed, or come from external sources like clients, publishers, or even fans. Regardless of where it comes from, this pressure can feel completely overwhelming.

Another challenge (and a big one for me personally) is fear of failure. When you are constantly trying to innovate, there’s always a risk that your work will not be well-received. This fear can be paralyzing—leading to procrastination or even risk avoidance entirely.

In addition to the internal mental gymnastics inherent in creative work, there are also practical considerations that can make it difficult to be creative all the time. Many creative professionals work on tight deadlines and have to juggle multiple projects (and clients) at once. This can make it challenging to find the time and energy to truly focus on any ONE task.

So, what can you do to overcome these challenges and re-up your creative energy?

It may sound counterintuitive, but one approach is to simply allow yourself the time to recharge—even in the middle of your work day. Take a long walk, do yoga, or step away from your desk to meditate. Be mindful of the present moment and try let go of whatever stress you might be carrying. And take as much time as you need. This will help ensure that when you DO get back to the project at hand, you can approach it with a fresh perspective.

This is no different than filling up a car when it’s running on empty. No one wants to have to stop to refuel, but it’s 100% necessary to get you to your destination. Think of your destination as the successful completion of your creative project—and “refueling” is simply the time you take to recharge. When you’re able to mentally reframe creative downtime, it’s much easier to stop beating yourself up and get back on track.

Ultimately, the challenge of being creative all the time is a difficult one, but it’s not impossible. You just have to remember to take breaks, and remind yourself that those breaks are just as important as the work itself.