I’m hit some creative blocks these past few days. I’ve been walking around on automatic mode – hurrying, rushing, looking-through rather than looking-at. I began began pushing myself, I began panicking, I began thinking in absolutes – “I’ve lost my vision!”, “I’ve lost my spark!“. I was left feeling defeated and powerless.
Any of us who are writers, or artists, or on any creative journey, have all experienced these creative blocks.
My blocks weren’t due to a lack of ideas, in fact, they were entirely created by TOO MANY IDEAS, an overstimulation of information. I’ve been binging on ideas to the point where my brain just shut down entirely. Burnt out.
Whenever you feel stymied, stuck, or frantic, remind yourself, this is the result of having too many good ideas – even if it feels like you have no good ideas at all (Julia Cameron)
The beauty of the internet is its ability to connect us to new people and infinite possibilities, but this is also its detriment. With the ability to access so many different experiences, we begin to compare ourselves to the lives of others. We can feel pressure to “perform”, to measure up, to “get it right”. We can also forget to disconnect, to slow down, to listen to our own (unique) voice. I know I am so guilty of these fears and these distractions.
I have a picture framed about my desk that says “Avoid getting trapped in someone else’s story. Be the author of your own life” – It’s terrible (and funny) that I don’t know whose words these are!
When I think of a lot of the advice that I’ve heard about overcoming these blocks, I think of ways to FIGHT the blocks, to BATTLE them, to CURE them, or to AVOID them entirely. These words evoke images of WAR and CONQUEST and STRUGGLE. These can only serve to heighten feelings of frustration and increase negative self-talk – mega stressful! What they miss out is the simple acts of acceptance, being gentle with yourself, and creating space.
These are some cool resources that explain this point in more detail:
What Happened to Downtime and Sacred Space? – How daily doses of deep-thinking and disconnection can clear the clutter in our minds and clear space for creative ideas
“Why do we give up our sacred space so easily? Because space is scary. During these temporary voids of distraction, our minds return to the uncertainty and fears that plague all of us. To escape this chasm of self-doubt and unanswered questions, you tune into all of the activity and data for reassurance”. (Scott Belsky)
Showering and the Art of the “Creative Pause” – How big ‘a-ha!’ breakthroughs tend to appear to you in the shower
“Creativity flourishes in solitude. With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, you can focus.” (Leo Babauta)
The Virtues of Daydreaming – Why Daydreaming Makes You More Creative
A daydream, in this sense, is just a means of eavesdropping on those novel thoughts generated by the unconscious. We think we’re wasting time, but, actually, an intellectual fountain really is spurting. (Jonah Lehrer)
What do you do when you get mental blocks? How do you create more space?
(I’m a personal fan of daydreaming, hot showers, and sleep!)