I have been learning about my own creative cycle over the last few years. It took me quite a while to even notice that it was a cycle. I would just get into these terrible creative slumps. I would fight and fight and fight with myself to crank out work whether it was design jobs for my freelance clients or art/music for myself. I would get very depressed and feel as though I should just quit doing anything creative at all. All my work sucked. No one cared. Blah.
Shortly after hitting bottom, I would explode with creative energy. I could handle 3 freelance clients/projects at once. Every idea worked. I looked at all of my past work with pride. It was great. Three months later I was pulling my hair out again.
This pattern would continue. 3-4 months of creative high, 2-3 months of creative low.
Once I finally noticed that it actually was a pattern I could deal a little better with it. When I was down at least I knew I would be coming back up. I still fought it pretty hard at first though. I thought that if I just worked harder I could push through it. Boy was I wrong.
After about three years of cycling I started to realize the best thing to do when I was down was to change direction. Stop trying to create and instead take time to manage. Do all of those organizational things that I never had time to do when I was on the creative high. I started focusing on archiving my work, organizing my photographs & audio samples & drum loops, shameless self-promotion on Facebook/MySpace/Twitter etc., finding inspiration by reading blogs and just waiting for the cycle to pass.
Have you discovered your creative cycle? What are your strategies?