I think, as artists, we all suffer from a creative block from time to time. As a working artist and entrepreneur myself, I know I find this to be true. To fully understand the role of any action, it helps to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, what role it plays. Have you ever had anyone in your family discourage you from becoming a creative maker? Or led you to believe the “starving artist” concept? Or maybe it’s the feeling that you are somewhat “different” from everyone else, and don’t really fit in.
I know I’ve felt this way at times. Perhaps it’s this feeling that creates fear in us that then holds us back. Maybe you are just tired of your process and have lost the joy in creating. Whatever the reasoning, there are a few things I believe you can do to spark your creative energy and get back in touch with your inner artist.
1. Realize that everything you do requires creative energy.
I get it. You’re creative, you’re right-brained. You have a hard time at the grocery store because there are just too many choices and the thought of making a list makes you want to cry; you feel like you’re not being “an artist.” Maybe you have a thousand ideas running through your head that you want to accomplish, but feel like you don’t know where to start. What you think might be boring life choices are actually expressions of your creativity. Choices at the grocery store, the way we talk to other people, the way we dress, etc., those all play a role in expressing our creativity! Take them one thing at a time.
2. Know that we were put on this earth to create.
The minute I realized this concept, my mindset started to shift. Being here “to create” also negates our need to compare in that process. If we are each created individuals, then there must be a facet or way that our “creating” won’t look exactly like someone else’s. When we get stuck thinking our creative pursuit needs to look exactly like XYZ’s, then we rob ourselves and the world of our unique eye. Creativity takes perseverance and patience. Nothing worth having comes easy, but know that what you are doing matters, because you were put on this earth to create.
When we get stuck thinking our creative pursuit needs to look exactly like XYZ’s, then we rob ourselves and the world of our unique eye.
When you work your body to physical exhaustion, your brain can then work it’s magic better, too. If you have a plan to be creative, it helps to have at least a weekly plan to also exercise.
Getting the blood pumping and clearing the brain can push out negative thoughts and give us the ability to solve problems. Figure out what’s realistic for you and whatever you can make happen, I urge you to make the time. Personally, I try to go to hot yoga two or three times a week. I love yoga, it helps me center myself and because it’s close to my house I know I can easily get there. I know what’s realistic for me. I’ve never regretted a day I exercised but I’ve regretted many days I did not. Some of the best ideas I’ve had to date have come to me while I’m in a downward dog!
4. Create a stimulating environment and get in the zone.
A big part of completing the work that you are meant to do is your environment. Trust me, I know the pull of procrastination. You have the work in front of you that you need to do, but would rather do anything else in the world than that.
So, create a space that you love to work in. Light a candle. Listen to music or an inspiring podcast in your earbuds. Or, maybe you simply need silence. Have you ever seen an athlete on the sidelines of an event before kickoff? They are in the zone and ready for action! I’m not saying drink a glass of raw eggs like Rocky, but what is it that you need to make yourself feel like working? Is it the lighting? Your view? Your chair? I actually have to stand up to paint. I have found that I cannot sit in a chair. These may seem like silly points but when you feel good about where you create, it makes all the difference.
… when you feel good about where you create, it makes all the difference.
5. Know that we learn to create by actually creating.
Creativity requires us to take some action. And there is only one way to do it — actually doing your work over and over and over again. Show of hands: Are you ever guilty of “thinking” something to death? I will literally think about an idea until I have thought about it so much, by the time I actually try it I’m already tired of it.
Small, simple, daily steps in the right direction can work wonders. For me, if I’m not in the “mood” to paint, I’ll sometimes play a mind trick with myself –I’ll tell myself that I’m just going to start. Do you know what happens? It’s like a switch turns on and before long I’ll actually be in the mood to create!
Your work itself becomes key to your own personal transformation. It becomes a process for discovering your true authentic self. I will look at work that I did years ago and my first reaction is horror and embarrassment. It wasn’t that good. It was trying to be, but it wasn’t. But then I realized that it’s because of that work that I arrived where I am now, even though my work is much different. I’ve come to appreciate that younger work because it’s all a part of the journey. Trusting that journey has been a huge factor in my daily life and it can be in yours, too.
6. Fall in love with your creative self, and embrace change.
You have to love something in order for it to produce fruit. When you plant a seed, you water it. You are beautiful, unique and no one else on earth is like you. Be kind to yourself, and love the way you are, hot mess and all.
In closing, I’d like to congratulate you on reaching your creative block. That’s awesome! It means you’ve reached an edge! Wouldn’t it be so boring if you did something the same way forever, without ever improving? There’s no joy in that. Here’s to finding the joy in our work, becoming closer to our creative selves and who we were meant to be. Carry on, warrior! Now, let’s put them fightin’ gloves on. I’m in your corner.
How can you do something creatively today?
Images via Jaicee Morgan