Feeling Stuck Creatively? Give it Time (+ 3 Questions to Ask Yourself)
March 10, 2020
For some reason, over the years, I’ve seen creative type after creative type hit a figurative “wall” with their art and say… I’m done.
Musicians who got in their head, or wrapped up in the success and attention from fans, writers like me, who felt uninspired by their life and lost their sense of purpose, painters who became spellbound by creating something amazing, and forgot to just paint…
As soon as their flow started to feel like it’s drying up, I could see them shrink deeper within themselves, convinced their talent was waning, and succumbing as a result to bad habits…
And hey, it’s happened to me too.
But, as my good ol’ favorite valley girl Cher from Clueless would say: “As if!”
Your creative gifts are gifts. And if there’s one force throughout creation who does “no take backs,” it’s the Divine.
Your gifts are yours… forlife.
Now, that doesn’t mean they won’t have fluctuations. Because they will. That’s guaranteed.
And especially when you have a lot of success, or failure, or big things happen in your life…
Sometimes, you need a reset.
But the last thing you need to feel is defeat or loss.
Here’s the thing about your gifts: They’re yours. The key word there being you.
Your gifts are you. They’re an extension of you, as much as your voice or your fingertips. They’re as substantive as your heart, beating in your chest.
You can’t live without them, and they will never live without you.
But… we forget that we’re the critical element in our creativity. The crux at the center. The spokes in the wheel that keeps it moving.
If your spokes lose their shape, and your creativity doesn’t flow or roll out of you anymore…
It’s not because you’ve lost it. It’s because a part of you needs repair.
And in that moment…
Repair is more important than expression.
Which means, you must tend yourself as if you are the embers of your own fire.
And in that tending, the creativity builds, and grows, until it pours out of you in a natural expression.
We call that art.
But there is no difference between art and self-expression.
How you choose to express is what makes your art recognizable as art… but that doesn’t make it less than art.
Love is the most beautiful, artistic expression of all. And it only flows from us when we tend its embers within us.
If your creativity feels like it’s waning, ask yourself how you feel.
Do you feel connected to yourself? Distracted? Alone? Do you have work you’re putting off? Friends you’re resisting calling?
What in your life needs tending?
If what you’re tending (or avoiding) feels hard… tend it anyway. As you make progress, you’ll feel better. And your light (and creative spark) will return.
And, perhaps most importantly, notice the way the emotions are weaving within you.
If they feel dark and buried, do some unearthing.
There are many ways to do this… with scribbling, journaling, banging pillows, anything to fire up your core chakra and get your body feeling LIFE again.
If they feel heavy and cold, wrap yourself in warmth, call upon a friend, and create space to release them.
If they feel hot and jagged, cool down with a swim or a cold shower, or do boxing or martial arts to center yourself. Go running in the woods. Burn off that fire.
Next, ask yourself what you need.
And perhaps, you need to just allow your creativity to flow.
Don’t place rules or guidelines on your creativity. Act with curiosity. Enter the sanctum of it as if looking for a golden chalice in a darkened room.
Smooth your hands over every hidden surface. Describe what you see. Delight in the exploring. Marvel at your findings.
Even an accidental brushstroke can be beautiful.
Even a sentence that makes no sense, as long as it’s felt by you… and it’s true… can inspire.
Or, perhaps you need to get away to see the trees, spend more time reading, relaxing near a brook. Perhaps you need to let your thoughts drift away, or drink more water.
Maybe you just want to sit alone for two straight days, with nothing but your thoughts and the sound of the breeze outside and within.
Finally, ask yourself what you desire to create, and what inspires you… and go do that.
This is where the rubber meets the road. Because vision and inspiration are both seeds of creative expression.
As you envision a new painting, or feel the stirrings of a song, you’ve already begun to feed your creative fire.
Be careful to only ask yourself what you want and allow that desire to pull you like a magnetic force. And don’t be consumed by parallel wants. Wants that don’t need your attention. Or wants that are unrelated or distracting.
Focus on your art.
And inspiration is fuel for your art. Inspiration and desire are woven together like twins. Inspiration sparks desire. Desire can give inspiration fuel that makes it last longer.
Now… go. Feel. Be. And if you want to, when you’re ready… create.
And remember: Give it time.
Life is ebb and flow. If you’re withdrawing and not creating lately, perhaps there’s a reason for that. Go fully into that.
Just like you must surrender to the waves of creation flowing through you when you do your art…
So you must surrender to the waves of creation flowing through you that may be pulling you inward (and seemingly “away” from outer expression).
Ride the waves.
And then eventually, they’ll bring you back. And you’ll be new. And your art will be better than ever.
Yes, really. If you allow it.
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