Creative blocks are that feeling you get when the pleasure of your creative genius, those brilliant choices and your exquisite care for each nuance of your experience, suddenly runs dry. The tank is empty, the juice has run out, and your momentum is going ... going... gone.
As mysterious as they seem, creative blocks have some logic behind them as well as some practical solutions. This article lays out the causes, the solutions, and a few helpful writing/pondering prompts to kickstart your momentum again. I've even included a few quick stories to prove that there is hope! You will live to create another day, and here's how.
A creative block often represents a desire to be in a different or more productive phase of the creative process. The creative process includes a spectrum of productivity ranging from seeking to releasing, assertive to receptive, and from highly active to integrative and still. Although stillness can seem stagnant and is often judged in our culture as being "not enough" or even lazy, slow paces and stillness are equally as useful as the more active doing. Like it or not, slowing and stilling are essential aspects of the creative experience.
Creative blocks are caused by:
Although creative blocks suck, a block is most often just good information telling you that it's time to adjust. The question is, how?
What's the fix?
We need to stop labeling blocks as wrong and simply call them what they are - stagnant energy. The creative force is flowing though you, or at least that's what we want. Creativity is an energy and if it stagnates with you, that's on you. But hey, you're human so it's bound to happen eventually. The good news is that you have direct access to the solution.
Step 1. Accept
Accept that you are preferring a different experience than the one you're having. #nojudgement. Then accept where you are and make friends with it.
Step 2. Identify
Identify how you need to adjust your flow. In other words, do you need to increase or slow your activity. This will look different for everyone and will depend on your specific creation. Regardless of the details, the concept is universally applicable. (Hint: you'll benefit from the opposite or compliment of the state you're currently feeling uncomfortable in. Overwhelm needs to chill, stagnation needs a fire lit under that fine fanny.)
Step 3. Adjust
Adjust your pace by considering 4 levels of experience: physical, emotional, intellectual, and energetic. For example...
To slow your pace you can:
It sounds simple and it works, but this process of behavioral repatterning can also take time to develop organically and authentically. Don't rush. Be patient. Consider it an ongoing work in progress and luxuriate in the power you have to play with it.
Here is another way to look at it. When raising a child, does a parent just execute Operation Adult and ask the child every day "Why aren't you a mature adult yet?". No! Ideally a parent will savor the time they get to spend with their child and in that same way you want to enjoy these special moments with your creation. Whether you're celebrating those magical first steps or wishing you had a hazmat suit as you clean up another epic blowout, these moments are totally unique to your personal growing process and to that of your creation. Kids remember the care you give them and your creations remember too. These moments only happen once, and they are precious.
Creation is an expression of matter forming and transforming through time. So, it takes time. Put on your patient pants. It's time to get cozy.
Creation isn't a race, it's evolution. Give yourself the breathing room you need to play the long game.
Questions to ask yourself.
When you're ready to overcome your creative block use these prompts for journaling or contemplation. Answer what feels alive for you and ignore what feels irrelevant:
I'm going to be real with you.
We all get stuck. Those who remain stuck are likely the ones blaming others for their issues, which is lame but true. No one wants to be the blamer because eventually we all see through them and they're not going anywhere (plus they're a drag to be around).
Those who get unstuck are the ones who claim their opportunity and ability to create a new outcome for the same old blocks. It takes effort but it's worth it, I promise.
Happy creating. See you out there.
All site content copyright Anna Fox Ryan 2021