I have been teaching art and creativity for many years and have seen a common thread when it comes to obstacles that get in the way of our own natural creative instincts. Within this article, I have highlighted some problem areas and have provided tried and tested ideas on how to work through them or avoid them. This article will provide you with the ability to avoid these obstacles to creativity and let yourself shine.
Developing more creativity can benefit your career, relationships, and hobbies. As a creativity mentor, it is my greatest joy to see how taking time to make something with your own hands can work a special kind of magic throughout your life. In fact, I know of no other remedy that works quite so well as to bring peace into any form of chaos.
Children love to be creative.
They take great pride in their work (when was the last time you stuck one of your creations on to your fridge?) and practice much freedom in the execution of their creations.
Sadly, many adults have less motivation to create. But many more reasons to do so.
There are many obstacles to creativity.
Fear of ridicule. This is a biggie. Fearing the judgment of others can be one of the main reasons we never just ‘ do it ‘. It is a common and obnoxious obstacle. One big thing to remember is that people spend a lot more time thinking about themselves, and worrying about themselves than they spend time thinking about you! Simply put – “you be you”. No matter what you do, someone will provide criticism, and many others will cheer you on. Learn to ignore the naysayers and let your creativity shine.
“What other people think of you is none of your business”Unknown
Fear of failure. There are so many fears sometimes they can seem unsurpassable. It can be the fear of losing money or valuable time. Or it can be a simple fear of failure. Be gentle with yourself. But remember this – you’re tough enough to handle it. You’ve already failed thousands of times in one way or another, and you’ve survived. Your entire childhood was made up of tiny failures that just took you closer to succeeding. Another question to ask yourself is “What would happen if I did fail?” 99 times out of 100 I bet your answer will be “I d try again”. There is also beauty to be found in failure. We can learn from our mistakes and move forward from them bringing wisdom into our next attempts. See – you are so creative already, you can even make failure into a good thing!
Interruptions. Time and space energize creativity. As a mother from a young age, this has been my biggest obstacle to date. It’s more challenging to come up with a brilliant idea if your kids are needing to be fed, changed, calling your name or is just to cute to put down. If not a child then these days it is your phone chirping at you every 30 seconds. Give yourself the gift of time and space. Schedule your creative time to minimize as many interruptions as possible. Maybe an early morning start or later in the evening can be the best option for many. Tiredness after a long day or night can make this unappealing sometimes but it will work. I promise. It can even get a little addictive – that little bit of “me time” each day could literally change your life.
Distractions. Much like its sister “Interruptions” a distraction is anything that takes you away from your creating time and space. A distraction is an interruption you give yourself. How do you commonly waste time? Maybe you procrastinate, maybe you kinda invent reasons why you should not be creating and therefore make lists of things you ‘should be’ doing instead. I promise you, the dishes, laundry, grocery shopping can wait – they are not going anywhere. Remove those distractions from your immediate environment. Or better yet, remove yourself! Put your cell phone on mute and throw it in the drawer. Turn off the TV. Find a nook somewhere, breathe, take a leap of faith and start creating. Focus 100% on your creative activity. Distractions are controllable. Have the self-discipline to control them.
Past experiences. (In which you’ve tried doing something creative or for yourself before.) Your past affects your current thinking and beliefs. Attempt to open your mind to all the possibilities. Just because you tried something didn’t work once in the past doesn’t mean it can’t work today. Let go of the past and free your creativity. Time moves on, and us with it. Don’t let yourself get stuck in old mindsets.
Stopping too soon. Once a good idea is found, it’s common to stop looking for a better solution. Are you sure you’ve chosen the right color for your painting? The right word for your novel? The right idea to make $10 million? Once you’ve found a good idea, keep looking for an even better one. We rarely achieve something in one area of our lives just to throw the towel in and stop right there. We like to find fresh challenges – without them life would be dull. The same goes for your creativity. There a lot of ways to gain new skills these days without having to go on a course or leave your home. Try You-Tube or join sites like Skill Share to stretch yourself and learn new things. You never know, maybe you are one step away from being the next Picasso or Monet.
Stress. Stress and creativity rarely go hand in hand. Whether it’s the stress of being tired, running out of time, financial issues, or illness, creativity is more challenging than when you’re relaxed. Find time to relax and decompress before starting a session of creativity. Your results will be enhanced. I like to take the time to make a nice space to create in. Setting the scene as it were. I also do this for anyone that I am mentoring so that the space that they come into is calm, welcoming and inspiring. For me this usually includes fairy lights! It is also a nice idea to make yourself your favourite beverage and have healthy, nutritious and delicious snacks on hand too.
Negative moods. It’s not just stress. Anger, jealousy, fear, impatience, sadness, or hopelessness can also be barriers to creativity. Studies have shown that creativity tends to peak while experiencing strong, positive moods. Do whatever is necessary to boost your mood before accessing your creativity. Take a walk, call a good friend, or listen to uplifting music. What makes you feel better when you’re in a bad mood? “Let it Go”, “Shake it off” and “Roar” can frequently be heard on full volume in our house for this very reason.
Too many options. It can actually be easier to find your creative streak if you limit your choices. Try to make a painting with only three colors. Only use a black pen on brown paper. Write a short story with only 300 words. Or compose a song with only a few chords. Having too many choices can be a challenge in itself. Try limiting your options if you’re stuck. This is also a great option if you find yourself in a rut. Boundaries are your friends.
If you can’t get your creative juices flowing, maybe something is in your way. Go through the list above and let the suggestions soak in. Take a little time to do this. Taking this time to pause and reflect is important – Your creativity is a significant part of your uniqueness. Avoid the common obstacles to creativity and show the world what you have to offer. To really boost your creativity, try using it regularly. And start today!
Oh, and please do comment below – I love to hear from you! REMEMBER – if you boost your creativity and have fun doing it please do share a pic on socials with the hashtag #freemycreativity,
Bye for now xx