Three Obstacles That Are Stopping Your Creativity.
Creativity… Turning ideas into reality… Channelling inspiration into something tangible…
The mind was meant for creating.
When inspiration is not a problem (they say it’s for the amateurs anyway), on the contrary; there is an ideas overload, there are couple things that may still block us from taking action.
As I’m writing this, I recall what were my 20’s like, when for 8 years I lived and breathed art. But the reason I write about it now is that these days things don’t happen as fast as I would like them too. In the last week’s ICF class I clarified for myself what my obstacles are, and why ideas are often like hot coals I try to handle with my bare hands.
1. Tension. Energy misdirected.
If there is too much we want to create, we may end up doing nothing because the tension won’t let us. We may switch from one project to another, run in circles, burning ourselves out, in the end of the day accomplishing little. Or worse: we can’t sit or stay in one place, so we rush to clean the house, wash the windows, reorganize the closet, eat everything that’s in our way. Classic example, isn’t it?
Before you label yourself with ADD, just like I wanted to, can you see how the tension we feel is just misdirected energy? Inward, instead of outward, to the writings, paintings, designs, building plans, or garden landscaping… The tension and intensity is something very common for creative and sensitive people. You may also explore the topic of intensity here.
The energy present in this tension is meant to be put into our projects. What to do if it’t overwhelming? First of all: use some of the energy for doing something physical. Then:
Action plan 1: Put in writing a quick plan to create what’s on your mind. Or make a sketch. Divide the big project into small goals. Goals that are: specific, measurable, meaningful, achievable (within reach at this moment), realistic, rewarding, time based.
Action plan 2: Make notes without editing. Don’t stop writing until there is absolutely nothing else you can say. Pour it all out on paper while it’s fresh. Something like 3 pages of “stream of consciousness” writing that Julia Cameron recommends. When you cool down – reorganize it. Look for the treasures and repeating thoughts.
Action plan 3: When I asked around, other artists suggested creating a structure. To show up at the computer (or easel) every day at the same time to create for an hour or two. Make sure you are not disturbed at that time.
Others suggested committing to shorter blocks of time: 25-45 minutes – no matter what. Notice what is the best time to do the work. I know that I am not very creative between 2-7pm, so I schedule my day accordingly.
2. Fear of all things possible. Taming the fear.
These are the fears that artists may experience during the creative process:
a. We have assumptions about what people want. We have fear of not meeting those expectations. If we don’t disarm this fear right in the beginning we will create not art but crap. Giving in to expectations (even if those are just imagined ones) is a betrayal of your uniqueness.
Being authentic in art takes courage because you expose your soul to the world. And yet this is the right thing to do. Only this way you can inspire. You must be able to stand behind your creation 100%. How can you do it if what you created isn’t fully “you”? “It’s a sign of a mediocre mind if the source of inspiration is too obvious” said someone famous.
“Your best work is your expression of yourself” – Frank Gehry
b. Fear that you will not be understood.
If you are ahead of your time – the next generation will understand you. The only issue here is, that you may make all the money postmortem.
c. Fear of being seen. Fear of being criticized, talked about, laughed at, rejected.
Did anyone ever was loved by everyone? Nope. With being visible comes criticism or no response at all from the group that doesn’t relate to your art, and from group that loves your art (and there always will be someone that does) – comes admiration and the sales. You may need a breakthrough so it won’t matter to you any longer.
d. Fear that the fear will always be there. Fear that we will never be able to take one hand of the wheel down the road.
Hear what an Oscar winning actress with over 50 years of experience has to say about it:
“It’s frightening having to act. And the more you do, the more frightened you get. But there is something about the fear that’s absolutely wonderful. “ Judi Dench. How can you tame the fear?
3. Self Judgement.
Having too many fears may be a sign of self judgement.
Pay closer attention to your inner dialogue. Do you hear self doubts way too often? Inner Critic that never shuts up? Once you catch them you can actually rerun the conversation in more positive light.
If none of the above applies to you, but you still run into blocks when you try to create something, it must be something else…. check my post about Perfectionism.
If you are an artist, what are the biggest obstacles for you? Lets talk about it in the comments below.