Let’s be honest. Creative blocks affect us all.
It could be that you are stopping yourself from creating something that’s important to you, or you are not doing something you are passionate about. It may be that you know there is a change you need to make in your life but you just can’t get started.
All of these examples mean something is blocking your creativity. It’s a common problem.
But before we look at creative blocks and how to fix them, what is creativity anyway?
Creativity relates to all areas of our lives. It’s not just for writers, artists, painters, designers and the like.
Being able to create is an innate need of us as humans, and we use creativity in many of the things we do every day.
How do I recognise a Creative Block?
A creative block stops you from getting into the flow or the zone you need to be in to produce whatever it is you are trying to create/do/change.
It stops you making decisions that allow you to create. It leaves you unable to move forward, often with a feeling of not knowing why or what to do next.
Common Creative Blocks
There are a number of things that commonly affect your ability to be creative. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Common sentences (fill in the gaps) used when you are a victim of envy:
“There are already too many people doing _________. How can I be successful with so much competition?”
“My competitor/sister/neighbour does ________ far better than I ever could”
“If only I could be as good as ___________”
Envy, or as I call it analysis paralysis, will give you a creative block that stops you from moving forward. The opposite of envy is just doing ‘you’.
You are the unique differentiator between you and everyone else you are comparing yourself to. No-one else can do you, so you might as well.Comparing yourself to others is a creative block.Click To Tweet
Guilty as Charged
Common sentences (fill in the gaps) when you are a victim of guilt:
“That won’t work because I can’t ___________________”
I am not _______ enough to be able to do that”
A negative mindset makes us feel guilty and unworthy of wanting to create/do/change.
This creative block can be the hardest to overcome. It takes ongoing work to change a negative mindset and replace it with positives.
Set In Your Ways
Common sentence starters when you are a victim of being set in your ways:
“I will always _________”
“I would never ________”
Being set in your ways is often based on old traditions, culture or family values that may no longer apply. But on autopilot, we may never think to question or look for other alternatives when our ‘ways’ become outdated or no longer aligned with our own values.
This is a common but not obvious creative block.
Wishing Your Life Away
A common example of what you might say when you are a victim of wishing your life away:
“I wish I could just finish this course/project/(insert any other source of procrastination) and I’d be able to focus on creating/doing/changing ____________”
Common sentences you may use when you are a victim of discouragement:
“That is too hard”
“There is too much to do, I’ll never get that done”
“I don’t have time to _________”
Discouragement often leads to a subconscious block we put on our creativity, to avoid feeling frustrated and disappointed.
Did you note the common denominator in all of these examples? If you said ‘mindset’ you would be correct.
We are all built to interpret the world around us and to use these interpretations as our guide. It allows us as humans to not need to treat each experience as brand new.
Your Unique Mindset
It means we can recognise situations and experiences we have seen or been in before. They create your unique mindset.
Each person can have an interpretation or mindset that is different from the next person. It is generally drawn from our upbringing, culture, traditions, family values and other factors that influence us.
Your mindset can sometimes allow you to slip into autopilot. In this state you are not able to see options to move forward in what you are trying to create/do/change.
This is a creative block.
How to manage your Creative Blocks
Below is a simple process you can use when you recognise you are in a creative block.
This will help you understand your mindset and decide if it is the right mindset to achieve your aims or if you need to look at other options to shift your perception in order to achieve your aims.
1. Question: What you are actually aiming to create/do/change?
Get clear. Make sure you break this down into the process or steps. Don’t just have the end goal in mind in your head. Lack of clarity on how you to do what you need to do will fuel the fire of a creative block.
2. Question: What is your situation right now?
Have a real, honest check-in with yourself and your mindset on why you aren’t creating/doing/changing.
3. Question: What is the gap that exists?
Compare your aims and your reality. Here you will find some keys to unblock your creativity. Self-awareness around your mindset will help change your reality to better align with your aims.
4. Question: What options are realistic for you right now to help remove the block?
Consider your options and what will work best to bridge the gap between your aims and your reality. Try to think outside of your current mindset and look at the gap with an open mind.
5. Answer: Take Action.
Put into place whatever you decided in step 4. This is when the magic happens! By the time you get to this step, you should be raring to go, and encouraged that what you are trying to achieve is possible.
If all has gone well, your creative block will dissolve and you will be back focused on creating, doing or changing.
Unblocking your Creative Blocks
Sounds easy right! But like anything it takes practice. Try it next time you have a creative block and see if it works for you.
If it helps you manage your creative blocks and get back in the zone and focused a little quicker than before, it will be worth the effort.
Let me know how you go. You can write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment on this post. I read and respond to everything personally.
May your creative soul always blossom,