Clearing creative blocks can be fun, but also takes commitment and work. Here are five stumbling blocks I have come across, and how I overcame them.
1. Jealousy. Yep, there it is, let's just put it out there. It generally comes from creatives who themselves are blocked. They resent your ability to focus on yourself, and express yourself. They might make comments about how you are 'so busy'. They want you to stay the same, as it makes them feel more comfortable. I overcame this with a little bit of pain, but essentially I simply delved deeper into my creative self. The more I did what gave me joy, the less anything else mattered. Some have watched this journey on my private Facebook page. It was at times, earth-shatteringly cringe-worthy. But it was part of the journey, and if you understand it before you set sail, it can be easier to navigate when it hits.
2. Frustration. Why can't you be creative all the time? Why are there periods of quiet despair and non-productivity? It's simple. An apple tree cannot fruit all year, and nor can you. As you expand your creative consciousness, know that you need time to let the energy ebb and flow as well. I've learned meditation and do it several ways - walking, sitting, just letting everything else 'be' around me. To the outside world, it might appear you are depressed or withdrawing, but in actual fact, you can go to a remarkable place of peace and tranquility. Don't look too hard for it. It's already all around you. Let it come to you, gently.
3. Being hard on yourself. This is one many creative people go through. Wanting it to be perfect is crazy, but, want it we do! The trick is to acknowledge that want, and let it go. Trying to suppress it, will only result in a confusing mess of emotions - guilt, shame, comparisons to others (this never ever serves you well) and low self-esteem. Remember, the whole point of getting in touch with your creative self, is to build your personal power and self-esteem. But, it's inevitable you will crash from time to time. Pick yourself up, and get right back on that creative bus.
4. Feeling selfish, or being told you are selfish. Whoa nelly, if you hear this from anyone, RED FLAG ALERT! Run! They are likely blocked creatives themselves, and want you to believe that all of this is mumbo jumbo stuff, a hobby, a fad, a passing phase, and IT WON'T MAKE YOU ANY MONEY! You're a joke, a loser, give it up now! "You are so brave to keep trying", they say. Okay, here's the good news. It's their stuff, not yours.
But, these words might play on in your head. Perhaps they stem from a childhood comment from a teacher or a parent. A sibling once casually remarked that great marks in English would never get me through in life. They were not words meant to wound, but I carried them with me, gave up my dream of being a writer, and joined the Police Force. (Where I excelled at, you guessed it, writing.)
So your creative gift can take a bit of a beating, and when you finally pull it out again, you might feel guilt or selfishness. When I was writing The Bootongs of Bali, I had a sense of being a vehicle for something higher than me, a conduit for the words. I mentioned this to a friend, who scoffed at me, and told me that this was just me making excuses to not work. Fortunately, I have a husband who believes in me, but at the end of the day, I needed to be my number one fan and believer. Nobody else could do it for me.
5. Experience the joy. This is a very different creative block! It comes after all the writing, painting or drawing is done, and then wham! As you stare at your pride and joy, a little voice starts. Will I ever be able to do this again? Is this my only one good piece? Aaargghhhh! No, it's not. It can't be. We are all creative beings. You will go through this whole process again and again, but here's a head's up. Experience the joy of creating. Immerse yourself in the NOW of it. Be proud. Love it. Look at it. Pick it up. Frame it. Print it. Take it to bed with you. Because when you do that, you are giving gratitude for the time spent creating it, and for what the gift has allowed you to produce.
Creative blocks happen to all of us, and come in many different ways. There are ways to help clear these, and often it means doing 'the work'; going back to basics and getting in touch with ourselves. For many, this is simply out of the question, and they will journey through their life being blocked. Step gracefully out of their way, and keep on your own path.
If you would like to recover more of your creative self in 2015, head on over to www.creatavisionpublishing.com for more information. We will be running workshops and courses throughout the year. We are currently pulling together a team of incredible women who will be there, if you want, to help you on the journey after the course, and to share their healing wisdom throughout it.
As someone posted on my wall yesterday:
"You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." – Maya Angelou
What wonderful news! The more we create this year, the more we will have by its end! Creative genius!