How To Ease Yourself Through Creative Blocks

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

The Number One Habit of Highly Creative People? Solitude.

“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!)


20 thoughts on “How To Ease Yourself Through Creative Blocks

  1. Sue Kearney (@MagnoliasWest) says:

    Perfect! Great post… Me, I refueled my creative tanks by doing battle with the giant thorny blackberry vines in the chilly morning sunshine in the garden. Away from the technology, and the work I had to do, and the grief.

    Chickens squawking all around me. Hacking away at the vines.

    And letting my worries about the muse and my creative output rest.

    Love and light,

    • allthesoftplaces says:

      Hi Sue! Thanks for your thoughts 🙂 Your strategy sounds AMAZING! Your description totally conjured up a really fantastic (and amusing) image! Sounds like you’ve got a great space – so beautiful (and lively!) Sending you ongoing support for your creative endeavors . See ya at WCWW!

  2. C.B. Wentworth says:

    I usually tell myself to “stop,” in order to get through a block. For me, blocks are usually the result of having too many things going on. When that happens, it means I have to drop everything and just breathe.

    • allthesoftplaces says:

      So insightful. I’m the same way, except I sometimes struggle with dropping things/letting things go. I get far too excited/fixated! I love the idea of the ‘creative pause’ though. Breathing, meditation, yoga, showering, walking, napping – anything to shift your focus and rest your mind. xo.

  3. Kate says:

    Oh my, I read this and it was all Me too, me too, me too
    and then this:

    “My blocks weren’t due to a lack of ideas, in fact, they were entirely created by TOO MANY IDEAS, an overstimulation of information. ”

    ( If I could make this font bigger, this YES would be enormous.)

    Thank you for your sweet support of my journey.

    And I feel so honored to peek in on yours as well, and feel such comfort and companionship as I see us traveling similar paths.

    Hope to have more time to linger soon.


    • allthesoftplaces says:

      Kate!! How could I have missed this gorgeous comment of yours?? So sorry!

      I think my overstimulation of ideas will be my downfall one of these days! haha. I am working on redirecting that energy into actually making these ideas tangible 🙂

      I am so happy to have found you and your work (you phrased it so perfectly – it is so awesome and comforting to find a similar soul who is so in tune with your own experiences)

      I really hope we are able to connect more and keep each other posted about our journeys (ideas, struggles, triumphs, etc)


    • allthesoftplaces says:

      Thank you so very much Regina! I still have yet to read all of “The Artist’s Way” (gasp!), but I am planning on it. I love the idea of ‘the morning pages’. They have helped me a lot with my ideas and thoughts.

  4. LubbyGirl says:

    Yuppers. sounds like me all righty. I tend to daydream, and doodle, and talk to myself. I even answer myself sometimes! And it’s so true about the overabundance of ideas! They never seem to stop – I even woke up thinking about an idea in the middle of the night!!

    • allthesoftplaces says:

      haha, we sound pretty alike!! I have a bunch of ideas last night too (too tired to actually write any of them down though). It’s both a privilege and a curse to have such a neverending flow of ideas – difficult to control sometimes! 🙂 My problem is that I have trouble actually *following through* with the ideas (the dreaming and the thinking are the most fun parts afterall!) 😉 Thanks so much for stopping by and making me smile with your comment!

      • LubbyGirl says:

        that’s funny – I actually woke up at 5:07 this morning, thinking of (what else??) an idea for a purse I’m making, and another idea for a blog topic. It never shuts down, does it!! 🙂

  5. FeyGirl says:

    Wonderful piece, and equally inspiring links — thanks so much for sharing! I, too, escape to nature (and often) to find my sacred space…creative pause…solitude. I can’t wait to check these articles out further! ♥

    • allthesoftplaces says:

      Wow, thank you oh-so much for visiting and taking the time to leave a thoughtful and lovely comment 🙂 It sounds like we’ve definitely got that in common – nature really has the power to put things in perspective as well. I’m excited to check out your blog more (I just took a peek and it looks really fascinating – beautiful photos!!) xo.

      • FeyGirl says:

        ♥✿♥ Thanks so much! (I also forwarded your piece to other artist-types in my family, desperately in need of returning to their solitude-spaces.)

  6. allthesoftplaces says:

    You’re so fantastic! 🙂 I would love for it to help and guide other people.

    There are just so many struggles we all face when it comes to creating and expressing ourselves. There is so much pressure out there, too many ‘rules’ and ‘tips’ and a constant barrage of information to make us feel overwhelmed and inadequate. It’s so important that we learn to quiet down and listen to our OWN voice and intuition… Thanks a ton ❤


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