Do you feel like you’re stuck and not coming up with good ideas? Is the flow of creativity slowed down or even stopped and you just don’t know how to get back to coming up with new ideas and creating? It’s possible you’re suffering from a few creativity-blocking obstacles, and by identifying the obstacles in your path, you can find ways to work around and get through them.
Eliminate these creativity blockers from your life:
1. A cluttered mind makes creativity a harder challenge. Have you ever noticed that your best ideas come when you’re alone or when you’re either being quiet or doing something very routine, like driving or taking a walk. It’s hard to get the creative juices flowing when you have too much going on, both physically and mentally. A lot of external and internal “noise” makes it harder to hear yourself and your ideas.
2. You don’t prime your creative mechanism. Try doing a different creative activity for a few minutes. If you’re trying to write, try doodling for a few minutes. Trying to draw? Take a dance break. Keep things like Legos, tinker toys, modeling clay, crayons or similar on hand as options to get creative outside your “normal” mode.
3. Stress & negative moods. When your adrenaline is flowing, and you’re dealing with the stresses of life, creativity can be hard to find. Whether it’s the stress of being tired, running out of time, financial issues, or illness, creativity is more challenging than when you’re relaxed. Find time to relax and decompress and do something that helps reduce your stress before trying to create (listen to music, meditate, take a calm walk, have tea). It’s not just stress. Anger, jealousy, fear, impatience, sadness, or hopelessness can also be barriers to creativity. Sometimes, though, there is just too much going on, and you may need to wait till things calm down a little, so try not to be too hard on yourself.
4. Interruptions & distractions. It’s more challenging to come up with a brilliant idea or focus on creating if your kids are calling your name or your phone is chirping at you every 30 seconds or your dog is constantly licking your elbow. Schedule your creative time to minimize as many interruptions as possible. Early in the morning and later in the evening can be the best options for many, as can having dedicated space and time where others know to let you be for a bit. Distractions, however, are interruptions you give yourself. How do you commonly waste time? Remove those distractions from your immediate environment when you’re trying to create. Put your cell phone on mute and throw it in the drawer. Get off social media. Turn off the TV. Set a timer and focus 100% on your creative activity.
5. You don’t believe you are a creative person or creative enough. Look, self-sabotage and limiting beliefs about your own self worth are BOOKS worth of material on their own, so I’ll keep this short. You’ve used your creativity countless times in the past. You’ve created awesome things. You ARE creative. Believe you’re a creative person and you’ll prove yourself correct.
6. You never get started. Creative endeavors can be intimidating, especially if it’s a big new project out of your standard comfort zone. Procrastination is one of the primary enemies to creativity. Don’t try to tackle a whole project at once, set aside a little time each day to be creative and work on your art. Just make forward movement, even if it’s small.
7. Fear of failure. The possibility of failure can stop anyone in their tracks. Think of all the times you failed in the past and came through unscathed. Creativity feels risky, but it’s mostly all in your head. Instead of asking yourself “what if I fail?” ask yourself “what if I succeed?”
8. You’re stuck in a rut. It’s not easy to come up with ideas in the same old space. Get outdoors or at least move yourself into a space you don’t normally use. Go to a coffee shop or bookstore or co-working creative space. Take your sketchbook to the park or a bar.
9. You insist on doing it alone. Fresh minds bring fresh ideas. Ask others for their input, have a new pair of eyes on your ideas and your work. Spend time with other creatives. You’re likely to find that the ideas of others trigger your own new ideas, and you will also all uplift and encourage each other to be more creative.
10. You think you don’t have enough experience. Very few people are born creative masterminds. It takes work and practice and learning. You can be old, young, new to it all, or have been doing it for years. You can be self taught or go to school. Regardless, you need to flex your creative muscles on a regular basis. Spend a few minutes being creative each day and you’ll keep improving. And stop trying to measure yourself against anyone but yourself.
Creativity is a powerful skill and ability to possess. If you’re struggling to be creative, look around yourself and your current situation and find the obstacle or two that’s standing in your way. Overcome them, and get back to expressing your awesome creativity!