Have you ever suffered from writers block? Or taking it a little further, creativity block?
I’m sure if you are the creative type you can empathise as the creative process can be challenging and exhausting. I actually think writer’s block can be a right bitch!
As a writer, I have the odd moment when I’m faced with a blank screen and a serious case of writers’ block. Sometimes I feel the urge to write but nothing comes to me. At other times, I have ideas but the words don’t flow. Or I’m just too tired to write but I need to write as I have a job to do. And then there are times when I write something and I’m just not happy with it no matter how much I tweak it.
I recently read a book titled Genership: Beyond Leadership Toward Liberating the Creative Soul in which the author, David Castro, lists the five challenges to the creative process.
At times, creativity just flows and is invigorating.
At other times, creativity doesn’t come easily and the process can be exhausting. We can work so hard on a project we are passionate about only to be fraught with disappointment; ‘It’s not perfect! Oh I will need to start again!’ or ‘What a waste of time, I give up!’
I’ve found that relaxing my perfectionist tendencies helps ignite my creativity and get me through the troughs of writer’s block. For years I was so hung up in the belief I was not good enough. That I wouldn’t make it or that if I tried, I would fail.
So what did I do?
Nothing. I didn’t even try! And when I did try, well, I was so worried about what others thought, about not being good enough, or about no one reading my writing, that my creativity didn’t flow. I just couldn’t write. Not a word.
Today, instead of worrying about how my writing measures up to others, the analytics of a blog post, or about how perfectly a paragraph is written, I write because I love what I do and believe in it. I’m not naive to believe I am perfect—my spelling and grammar have a long way to go, and at times I lack attention to detail, but I write from the heart and I like to think that shines through.
I also regularly reassess my goals as life and passions change and evolve constantly. Releasing myself from obligation, I choose what I throw my creative energy into. If something isn’t working for me then I reassess my position, analyze how it is impacting me and why I feel the way I do, and I make some needed changes. This may mean terminating a writing contract, but that’s okay. I would rather be honest and admit that I am not passionate about a particular subject, that I struggle to write about it or that I really don’t enjoy it that much. It’s not them, it’s me. Creativity shouldn’t be tedious.
Creativity shouldn’t be tedious.
Failure to observe current reality
Like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand, the failure to observe what is really going on can land you in all kinds of strife.
This is what I did for many years. I denied the impact of stress and anxiety on my health and other areas of my life. I failed to connect the dots between stress and illness, so much so that it took my third car accident in one-and-a-half years to wake me up and persuade me to start taking notice. Funnily, it was around that time of self-investigation and increasing self-awareness that my creative fires ignited.
As human beings, we can only go on living the same way for so long. Failing to observe reality can be a dangerous thing with serious consequences.
Competing desires (conscious and unconscious)
Life is full of competing desires.
“To create requires focused energy. A major fault in any creative process occurs when energy becomes channeled in competing directions. When desires conflict, creative energy is either dissipated or turns against itself like a swimmer kicking one way with his feet while paddling in the opposite direction with his arms.”—David Castro, Genership
Realistically – we can’t have it all. Nor should we want to or expect to have it all (the “have it all” myth is something that took me years to grasp and then release because we are brought up in a society that tells us we can and should want “it all”).
I recently found myself in a position where I needed to make a decision about my immediate future, a decision that was hard to make. I faced a choice. By choosing one path, I felt I would be a walking contradiction. But on the other, I needed some stability and to ease a major stressor in my life. Whichever way I turned, my creativity in the short-term would suffer due to the need to focus on something else, therefore I chose the first option. I realized my fears boiled down to self-perception and it wasn’t grounded in reality.
I realized my fear of being a walking contradiction boiled down to self-perception and it wasn’t grounded in reality.
Conflicting understanding of reality
You can accept what someone has to say, but you don’t have to agree with them.
Let that thought sit with you for a minute. It’s a freeing concept I discovered while studying Life Coaching.
Perception can be destructive. It can also lead to all kinds of conflict. No two people see the world through the same filter. We each see and experience the world through our own filters. We are all impacted by what we have learned and experienced in our lives. We have no control over how someone else perceives anything. The only thing we do have control over is our own thoughts and actions. We have a choice – we can choose to accept others for how they are. This does not mean we are agreeing with them. There is power in that.
Committing to failed ideas and strategies
Have you ever done the same thing over and over but expected different results?
Living a life of self-loathing and negativity got me nowhere (I lived that life for many years). As soon as I flipped the switch to a mindset of positive thoughts and self-belief, my life started to change. I also started taking risks and embracing failure (well…trying to anyway).
I now live in a world of positivity, which includes a 100% Bitch-Free Zone. As a bonus, I’m now meeting so many inspirational and creative people, and have never felt so creative!
Here’s some wonderful prompts to help get you unstuck. And if you aren’t a writer, why not try to make the ideas work for your craft!
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* This post was sponsored by Arch Street Press.