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November 13, 2015

5 Strategies to Banish Creativity Blocks.

Hartwig HKD/Flickr

The pressure is building, the page is blank and all I can hear is tick, tock, tick, tock. Why aren’t things moving at the pace I want or need?

The cycle of build, create, promote and still all I feel is empty space as I rack my brain to find the next word, sentence or concept.

I pour my heart and soul into something. I believe wholeheartedly in it and want nothing more than to see my idea spread its wings. All the work I’ve put in before should count for something, shouldn’t it? But all I have is the confusion of what to do next, the overwhelm of listening to too many people.

That ocean of things to do and people to be like is a deep one.

Dealing with creativity blocks and the slow, dragging pace makes me feel so tired. It can be one of the most challenging things when all I want to do is move into a flow where there is ease, the words pour out of me and my fingertips fly across the keyboard or canvas.

The only consolation is that I know I’m not alone.

It happens to all of us. The desert of “what next” is part of the journey. Not a fun part, but a part nonetheless.

It’s only when I throw myself a lifeline, or sometimes someone does it for me, that I can finally pull myself out of the mass of work, ideas and emotions and look at it from above.

Isn’t it amazing how clear things can look when we’re not in the thick of it?

I’ve used, tried and tested many different strategies to break that creativity slump. Here are just a few:

1) Take time to recalibrate.

When I take time to pull away from my beautiful business or creative focus and submerse myself in learning, enjoyment, relaxation and rest, I find that it dissipates the stress and tension. This is how I find my way out of the barriers that sometimes surround me. It’s the only way to start to see the wood from the trees.

As creative and driven beings, this is a big ask at times. We want to give all we have and keep going (and going, and going). To actually stop feels like the worst thing we can do.

What will happen if I’m not there?

What will happen if I stop responding for a day or two?

What if they forget about me?

What if.

The ongoing cycle can be the very reason for these barriers.

Taking the break helps me to stop the cycle, regain my confidence and break through the creativity doldrums.

2) Understand what is working and what isn’t.

When developing strategies for clients, I always talk about “implement, measure, review and adjust.” Put something in place, see how it goes, gauge the response; is it working? Yes, then keep doing it and grow it. If it’s not working, then take a step back and see why.

Still, it always feels hard to do it myself, because it’s for me rather than for someone else. It’s always easy to see what others can do in their life or business, yet it can be so hard to do it yourself.

3) Finding the right people to support me.

Finding the right people to support me and help me grow, develop and stand outside my “pool” of activity and ideas has been my savior. My “biz besties” help me fish out the ideas that are going to be right and move me in the direction I want to go.

Finding these people is another story. Some people pay a coach or mentor or join a mastermind group, but finding the one may take some time. I’ve found that networking is a good place to start to find like-minded people who may be feeling the same and would love the interaction and support.

Finding people that really resonate with me, with whom I can be real and share my fears, hopes and ideas with unwavering trust, is something that is built and not just found. I’m fortunate to have found women who make me laugh, support me when I cry and are awesome at what they do.

Seeking out those who have the strengths that I don’t is where the magic happens.

4) Building my tribe.

One of the most famous quotes around is, “Your Vibe attracts your tribe.” As I started to grow my business, I felt that there were women I wanted to connect with but couldn’t find the exact mix I was looking for.

So when I can’t find something, I build it myself. By starting small and slowly and sharing things that I love and that have helped me, I found women who were interested in the same thing and loved to communicate about similar topics. By creating the space, being consistent and engaging whenever I could, I built a community of like-minded women with whom I love to share time.

5) Dedicate time.

Once I’ve taken my break, I jump back in and commit to the creative process again, getting back into the work or art and allowing myself to enjoy the relaxed state. It’s amazing to remember what that feeling of creating was like—and is like again.

Even if it take a few test runs to get back into it, just try and start again. If it’s writing, then write something different, something random and see if it sparks anything. If it’s business, then start to create and talk to customers and clients, and if it’s art, then just put something on the canvas. Our minds have amazing muscle memory and it’s when we start to do, to act, that the magic starts to spark.

I just wanted to take the time today to let you know that you are not alone and that support is around when you need it. Walk away, do something new, find your support and dive back in—the water will be warm again.

How do you deal with your creative and business blocks?

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Relephant Read:

Creative Impotency? 10 Ways to Step out of Writers Block.

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Author: Suzanne Chadwick

Editor: Toby Israel

Photo: Hartwig HKD/Flickr // Andrew Smith/Flickr

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