We all have different talents and passions. It’s one of the glorious things that makes it so fun to be human. We get to add something of value to the world around us. We teach others a new skill or create something beautiful or provide a useful service. The act of creating allows us to harness our passions and have a lasting, positive impact on our community.
We’re not always creating, though. Whether we like it or not, there are times when the inspiration isn’t working and those creative ideas just won’t come. It’s painful and frustrating. Those of us who call ourselves writers refer to it as “writers block”, or simply being “blocked.”
Whether you’re a writer, painter, teacher, entrepreneur, parent, etc–none of us can afford to be blocked. It slows down our productivity, creates self-doubt (hello, old friend!), and makes it difficult for us to problem-solve at capacity.
Don’t freak out, though. There are solutions. We all get blocked, and there are dozens of ways to gently coax your creativity back into action. Here are a few of my favorites:
1. Read a book.
This one is a classic and I believe in it wholeheartedly. Our creativity begins with our imagination, which helps us innovate and solve problems. Reading uniquely engages our imagination. When we’re young, we read fairy tales and science fiction and other genres that open our minds to possibility. Going back to those out-of-this-world genres can help us reactivate parts of our imagination that may have checked out when adulthood checked in. Pick up that novel you haven’t found the time to read or dust off a childhood favorite and see where your imagination takes you.
2. Try something new.
This is one of the reasons I love traveling–it provides so many opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and experience something new. But new experiences can happen in our hometown, too! Go to a new restaurant (have you ever had Jamaican food?), attend a cultural celebration that is open to the public, or go out dancing or to a concert. Open yourself up to less-than-comfortable situations and see what you learn. It may trigger some new inspiration you didn’t know was there.
3. Get outside.
I’m not saying you need to exercise or anything, but there is magic in fresh air. The sun, the sounds, the smell–it’s therapeutic and can help you get present with your mind (which is, you guessed it, great for powering through those creative blocks). Go for a walk or read out on the patio. If you live somewhere beautiful, go for a hike or a swim. Be intentional about getting yourself outside and see what it unlocks for you.
Why meditate? Well, there are a few reasons, the first being it’s really good for your brain. The second being it helps you get centered and let go of distractions. If you’re feeling anxious or pressured or overwhelmed it gets difficult to be creative. Meditation helps us find that quiet, peaceful place inside ourselves and create from there. Here are a few of my favorite guided meditations in case you’re not sure where to begin –> Yoga Nidra Meditation. Vipassana Meditation.
5. Keep trying.
This one is the most difficult, but we all know persistence is a vital part of creating anything. When the ideas aren’t coming and the work gets frustrating, keep showing up. Write, even when it takes an hour get one paragraph out. Brainstorm, even when the ideas are sluggish and uninspired. Be patient and kind with yourself. Eventually, if you keep showing up and doing the work, the dam will break and your creativity will come rushing back.
If you’re feeling blocked, you’re not alone. Find the creativity boost that works for you and keep showing up!