Creativity can be a fickle thing. You’re sailing along working vigorously on a new idea when suddenly you feel the inspiration slipping away. Getting your mojo back and putting your creativity in gear requires rethinking how we foster creativity. When you find yourself stumped, learning how to move around that roadblock will make all the difference in the success or failure of your project. If you’re wondering how to work through some of the most common creativity busters, here are some tips:
- Getting Overwhelmed
When you have a big idea it’s easy to get bogged down in the details before you even start. When you consider the scope of the project, you quickly find yourself wondering how completing it is even humanly possible, and where you can even begin. As the questions fly you can feel your inspiration dripping away.
To combat getting overwhelmed, try breaking it down into smaller components. Putting the overall goal into smaller objectives helps you recognize that the work ahead of you is manageable and gives you a solid direction to work in.
- Fear of Failure
Worrying that your idea will fail is a perfect way to shut yourself down before you even get moving. Part of creation is recognizing that every process is a series of trial and error. Learning that failure is part of the creative process helps you let go of your fear and allows you to put your idea into action.
Failing is part of perfecting your craft, because if we never made mistakes we wouldn’t have any experiences to learn from. Learning to rewire your brain for positive thinking will help you cope with your fear and work through it to get your confidence back.
When we’re creating something we’re excited about, we often feel the urge to get it out as soon as possible to be shared. Rushing the creative process and being impatient with the time required to bring your idea to life can stop creativity in its tracks. Impatience can also lead to feeling discouraged that you’re not making the progress you feel you should be making. Slow down for a moment and remember that creation takes time and effort.
We are our own biggest critics. Evaluating our own work with no input from peers sets up an environment for us to find every imperfection in our project. Nitpicking at every small flaw you find can suck the inspiration right out of you. Practice sharing your work often and taking in the feedback you get from peers. And when you feel yourself tearing your work apart, take a minute to step back and look at all of the good things you’ve accomplished.
- Holding on to an Idea That Isn’t Working
When you feel you have something good going it can be tough to let go of it, even when you recognize that the time and energy you’re pouring into an idea isn’t paying off. Being afraid to let ideas die can hold you back from more successful projects. As a creative individual, you have to recognize that your flow of inspiration isn’t limited and letting go of one nonworking idea makes room for several more ideas that could take off in a big way.
Stress is one of the ultimate killers of creativity. When stress levels are high, we start losing our drive to do anything. Step back and take a few minutes to blow off some steam. Relax by having a mug of tea, listening to some calming music or exercising for a couple of minutes. Taking time to destress gets your brain back on track and lets you focus on the task in front of you.
- Lack of Diversity
Surrounding yourself with people exactly like you creates a stagnant environment. Remember that diversity breeds creativity. Having different thought processes and perspectives keeps ideas fresh and provides a different outlook on things. Sometimes you can be searching so hard for a solution that you skip right over something a person with an outside view spots quickly. Be sure to keep your peer groups diverse to capitalize on the knowledge others can bring to the table, and always seek out opinions on an idea.
Whether it’s background noise or social media, distractions seem to be abundant when it’s time to work. For those of you who can’t seem to stay from your favorite website long enough to focus, there’s a solution for that: distraction blockers. Staying focused and on task keeps your creative juices flowing to help you get that project well on its way. Turn your jams off, ignore that Facebook notification and get down to business.
For some, pressure turns coal into diamonds. For others, pressure turns a creative individual into an insomniac crying at their desk. Self-set deadlines may make you hold yourself accountable to do your work in a timely fashion, but the due date looming over your head could also make you a nervous wreck. Always give yourself reasonable deadlines and start working on a project as soon as you can to give yourself a comfortable buffer to get it done.
Working nonstop is a good way to find yourself drained and fed up in no time flat. Even when you feel like you’re in stride, working in blocks can keep your brain and body replenished. If you find yourself constantly doing the same activity, shake up the monotony by doing something different. Your brain needs a change in stimulation to keep you on your toes. You can work through a burnout a number of ways, depending on your personality, the cause, and what you need to refill your creativity.
- Low Self-Esteem
Lacking confidence in yourself and your work can shut down your creativity before you know it. Believing in your abilities makes all the difference in how creative you’re feeling and how much energy you have to devote to a project. Build yourself up by practicing positive affirmations that reinforce your confidence in your abilities as a creative person.
Once your creativity train gets derailed, it can be hard to get back on track. With these solutions in mind, you can work to avoid creativity killers in the first place and refuel more quickly when your creative juices are running low.
What creativity killers do you experience and how do you combat them? Share in the comments!
*This post can also be viewed on Punched Clocks.