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Help I’m Stuck! What to Do When Your Creative Juices Aren’t Flowing

Sometimes, despite our best intentions, we creative types find that we’re stuck.  We can’t seem to produce anything of note or, worse yet, we can’t even seem to find the time to sit down and create.  I do battle with this issue from time to time and humbly offer this list of tactics to help you get back to being creative:

Pencil sketches for funny face expressions by Joana Miranda

  • Take a vacation from email, your computer and texting, or at least schedule these activities for the end of the day so that you preserve your energy and focus for your creative peak times
  • Sit down at the same time every day to do what you do creatively. Repeat the next day, and every day after that!

Because the latter point is so important, I’ll say it again.  Make your creative time a daily habit.  Everything else can and should wait.  Yes, that means vacuuming the house (I’m a vacuuming fiend, so I say that as much for myself as for others!), doing the laundry, washing the baby bottles, perusing the latest catalog, and other have-to-do chores can wait.

  • Keep a record of your creations, no matter how mediocre you think they are.  (If you are a musician, tape yourself periodically in practice performance run-through sessions.) Eventually with time, you’ll be able to look back on your work more objectively.  You  might even be able to see a nice progression towards your goal
  • Get some fresh air and walk outdoors.  The confines of the indoors can contribute to a confined mind.
  • Pay attention to your fears.  Often, what holds us back from creating is the fear of failing.
  • Are you looking for outside validation and approval?  Sadly, that is as fleeting as chasing a rainbow.  Only you can give yourself the validation and approval you crave.
  • Know that feeling stuck IS part of the natural process towards growth.  Giving up is not.
  • Take a lesson, ask for advice or try to emulate someone whose creations you admire.  (Note:  Copying is illegal, not to mention being soulless.  Don’t go there!)
  • Beware the well-meaning naysayers.  They are even more scared than you are.  Remember that you are in charge of your own growth and well-being.
  • Be yourself.  As has been said before, “Everyone else is already taken.”
  • Applaud the successes of those doing what you are striving to do.  Julia Cameron, the author of the excellent book The Artist’s Way – A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity, says…

“Jealousy is always a mask for fear: fear that we aren’t able to get what we want; frustration that somebody else seems to be getting what is rightfully ours even if we are too frightened to reach for it.”

  • If you don’t feel like you can applaud the successes of others, try flipping the table.  Think back to a time when you got something you wanted.  How did you feel? How did it feel to be congratulated?  Was there anyone who begrudged you your success?  How did that feel?
  • Have a life plan.  If you were to die tomorrow, what creative gift would you like to leave the world?
Lastly, be kind to yourself.  We are our own worst critics.  If you create a flop, treat it and yourself with kindness.  You are only human and tomorrow you can try again.

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