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Monday
Apr152013

Six Tips for Getting Past Creative Blocks

At one time or another, every creative person faces a dreadful feeling when the creative juices stop and there doesn’t seem to be any way to get past what feels like an insurmountable block.  This may be a time to turn to housework, cleaning out the closet or any other task that remains unfinished in order to avoid the anxiety and discomfort of not being able to create.  On the other hand, if the goal is to move past the block and remain in the creative flow, here are a few ideas for opening up the creative channels.

  1. Prepare a personal ritual around creating.  Establish repetitive behavior that lets your body and mind know when it needs to start the process of creating.  Play a favorite song before beginning or light a candle to signal to yourself that you are ready to begin.  Create patterns of behavior surrounding your creativity such as organizing your work area with the things that you need.  Choose a work area that you know is somewhere that you can be productive.  This space can be at home, the library, a restaurant or a coffee house but find a place where you can be industrious.
  2. Create a sacred space for your talent.  Find ways to feed your talent within your workspace.  Consider specific items that could be set out that validate you as an artist.  This can be a photo of an artist you admire or of an artistic creation that has great meaning to you.  Find a special quote or someone else’s work that inspires you as a way to feed your creative soul.  Put out work that you have done that you are proud of or compile favorable quotes about your work from critics, friends or family.  Use symbols or images that represent aspects of what you are trying to create as a visual source for your creativity.
  3. Make a commitment to yourself to work for a set period of time.  Whether you feel like it or not, promise yourself that you will spend a certain amount of time creating each week.  Is there a particular time of day that tends to work best for you, morning, afternoon or evening?  Put that time commitment in your calendar.  This does not have to be a large span of time.  Ten minutes can be a good start, but it does need to be consistent.   Each week, no matter what, follow your schedule and take the time to create.
  4. Check in with a supportive friend before you begin.  This friend needs to be someone who wants you to succeed and thinks that you have talent.  Call, e-mail or text when you are beginning to work.  Making a commitment will help keep you on track.
  5. Develop a personal muse.  Imagine a muse who has all the artistic qualities and talents that you would like to possess.  Envision this muse staying beside you as you create.  Pick a muse who is a nurturing figure who values your creative talent and delights in every moment of your unique, creative process.   Give your muse a name and a persona, so that your muse seems real to you and can give you the support you need.
  6. Have a conversation with your inner critic.  Imagine that your internal critic is in a chair and ask what your critic has to say about your process and the project you are currently working on.  Try writing down what you imagine you are hearing.  Is there a particular aspect of the work that the critic doesn’t like and would like changed?  Is the internal critic filling you with so much self-loathing that the negativity and pain keeps you from getting near the work or makes you want to destroy what you have done?  Ask the critic to let you create with the understanding that the critic is welcome to have an opinion when you are further along in the process.  Let the critic know that you have final say over destroying or erasing anything that you create.  You can mention that you value the critic’s input but that the critic is not the only opinion that will be taken into consideration.

Being an artist can be exhilarating and rewarding, which makes it worthwhile when you are trudging through the difficult and challenging times.  The art of creating, like the seasons, has periods of dormancy and rebirth.  Have compassion for yourself in each phase of creativity and hopefully these tips will provide an avenue for you to move through creative blocks.

If you have any questions or if you would like to discuss your creative aspirations, dreams and challenges, please call me for a free 15 minute consultation at (310) 384-0086.

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