A creative block can simply happen when you are feeling uninspired in your life. It can show up as being unsure of your life’s purpose and because of this you make excuses to not make time for your dreams or pursuits. Although it can feel like it is ruining your plans and trap you into a cycle of fear and panic, you could also view it as a pausing point to re-evaluate what you want in your life.
A creative block might be experienced by anyone, for a number of reasons. It can be difficult to get past a creative block, but often simply becoming aware of when, how, and why a creative block develops can help a person work to address the creative block and prevent it from returning.
Ways to overcome creative blocks
You do not need an audience - Do not look outside of yourself for validation or approval even if you fear how your creativity will be perceived by others. Instead turn inward and find inner guidance for your creative tools. Begin to cultivate your creative practices knowing that you don’t need to share them with anyone else.
Do not compare - It is easy to see, read and hear about other people’s creative milestones, but this can easily lead to comparison. When you compare yourself to others a barrier goes up between yourself and your creativity. Instead consider asking yourself, ‘What steps can I take to improve my life, right now?’
Set a routine - When you do something habitually there will be a high level of creativity. Working within a routine not only increases your overall output but it also increases the generation of new creative ideas. If you wait or abstain completely it is likely you will struggle to create new work. Once you commit a specified block of time to your creative work, the best thing to do is just start.
Step away from your work - Sometimes taking a break from your creative work can also do wonders. If you’ve found yourself ruminating on the same task for hours upon hours, stepping away from the task may do you some good. It’s all about balance! Take a walk or change your scenery. Heading out to a new cafe, a stimulating shared workspace, or a refreshing park can awaken your inspiration and refresh your vigour for working.
Sleep more - Sleep has also been widely documented as a crucial component for processing all the new information your brain has acquired.
Keep a notebook - Remember moments that will later inspire you. You can return to these notes if you’re ever feeling stumped.
The Creative Process
- Preparation - collect all the intellectual resources you’ll need to construct new ideas. Think, research, plan and enter the right frame of mind
- Incubation - this is where no direct effort is exerted upon the problem at hand
What causes creative blocks?
Your inner critic although often useful in the process of completing work or developing your role in society, can sometimes come to dominate certain aspects of feelings or behaviour. This self-critique may sometimes be overcome through focused meditation that acknowledges the internal critic but disregards it. A need for approval might also stifle the creative process.
You may fear that your work or ideas will not be appreciated and then hold back out of fear of rejection or failure. A fear of the unknown may also be a factor in the development of creative blocks. You might worry that a discussion of certain ideas even through a media outlet may have unforeseen circumstances and so then resist expressing your ideas.
Creative blocks may also occur as a result of:
- The death of a loved one or the end of a relationship
- A lack of financial support
- The depletion of all creative energy after a fully immersed period of creating
- Self-doubt, both pertaining to ability and talent
- Repeated rejection of one's work
- Anxiety regarding the outcome of a project or task
- The need for perfection
- The dependence on substances to be creative
- Onset of an illness or medical condition
- A sudden loss of meaning and purpose in one's work
- Negative self-talk or criticism
Psychological issues and creative blocks - A block could be a temporary condition, but if you rely on creative construction to make a living, even a short-lived creative block may cause anxiety, doubt, and fear. You may even come to doubt your future ability to create and become distressed. Depression and feelings of worthlessness may also result. Creative blocks can also have a negative impact on your identity or sense of self. The effects of this can lower self-esteem and may lead to the development of self-doubt.
You may even turn to substances to resolve creative blocks which can then lead to further harm, such as addiction.
Creative blocks may also be experienced along with a mental health concern or other issue, though the issue experienced may or may not have led to the block. If you are experiencing depression or the effects of trauma, for example, you may find it difficult to access creativity. Major life changes may also lead to diminished inspiration or the inability to produce creative work. If you would like some help in overcoming your creative blocks so that you can access your creativity once more – please see Jill Jesson www.jilljesson.com