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In a Slump? Here's How to Bounce Back

You may have heard that I was recently in the hospital (twice!) for some super severe intestinal issues.

Thankfully, I'm back at home and well on the road to recovery, and will be back at 100% soon enough!

And from time to time, every single one of us deals with events just completely flip our habits and routines totally upside down.

Or in some cases, we might just... fall off what we were doing, even if nothing forced us to. That's totally normal, too.

So how do we get back to the things that we need to do after a long slump?

In this handy article, we're covering exactly that in three handy sections!

Part 1: Examine what was serving you Part 2: Take it ultra, laughably slow - your timelines are your own Part 3: Build back confidence

Take a look at what you were doing before And examine what was really working for you and what wasn't.

We often find that, over the long-term, we've built up a lot of cruft - habits, meetings, and routines that actively detract from our lives instead of helping it.

Maybe we've been taking too many meetings, networking inefficiently, and saying "yes" to too many go-nowhere opportunities.

This is a perfect time to start cutting those things out.

But even if you're freeing yourself up and getting your time back, you can't just go 100% right away.

Which is why we need to take things waaaaay slower than we think we need to It's easy to think that we can get back to our pre-slump routines right away, but nothing could be further from the truth.

We need to take things slow. Slower than that. No, even slower than that.

Your timelines are your own, too. You may get back to feeling good about things very quickly, or it may take much much longer. Both are fine.

Again, use this as an excuse to do things you may not have had time/energy for otherwise. I'm catching up on games and books from way back that I never had time for right now, for example.

I also binged 80+ episodes of a Dungeons and Dragons podcast. It rules.

But during these slumps our confidence is often shook as well And we start to feel less able to do what we used to do.

Even if our confidence is only 5% of the puzzle, a lack of it can derail 95% of the work we've done.

And the easiest way to build confidence is action and practice. We don't need to make anything good, but we need to act regularly.

If we're getting back into writing music, just spending a few minutes a day trying something new will be hugely helpful. Or maybe you can try my fancy sound design prompts to help you get back into practicing sound design.

That few minutes is how we build up our confidence - regular action is what it takes to put our brains back on the path of doing the thing.

"But Akash, you nougat-infused hazelnut bon-bon" you say "I have deadlines/school so I can't take things slow!" In some cases, yes, we do just need to power through our slumps and get things done.

But in most cases, if we let our clients/teachers know ahead of time that things may be coming a bit slower, it's usually ok.

Professionals aren't people who never ever ever get sick and miss a deadline. Instead, they're the ones that communicate and give a lot of heads up as to how things are going long before the client or teacher freaks out.

As someone who has been both a college professor, and as someone who hires sound designers/composers to help me on projects, it's rarely a big deal when someone has to miss a deadline - so long as they let me know in well in advance.

So, to summarize!

  1. Examine what your old routines were, and cut out everything you humanly can that wasn't serving you.

  2. Your timelines are your own... so take it slow. No, even slower than that.

  3. We have to build our confidence back after a slump, so we need to take small, regular action to remind us that we can, in fact, do the thing, even if our output isn't great.

And while your slump may be small, or big These down moments are completely normal and can't be totally avoided.

So, instead of striving to be perfect and thinking we'll never be in a slump, we can just build ourselves back slowly, and better than before.

And if you'd like more advice on building your game audio career

I have two free courses, designed specifically for those of you who are new to the world of game audio and want to network and find paid work in games. If you want in, just sign up, and you'll get instant access!


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