“Trust in yourself. Your perceptions are often far more accurate than you are willing to believe.” Claudia Black
The blank page, writers block, creative constipation, the crickets chirping in the silence, we’ve all been there. It’s the time when you feel the most alone. You think to yourself “no one else has this problem, why am I so uncreative?” Nothing could be farther from the truth. It happens to everyone. Unfortunately knowing that isn’t always so consoling. When you’ve got a deadline and no ideas, it doesn’t matter if the whole world is in the same boat. You’ve got to make, write, do something and now!
Our world has gotten so “plugged in” we can hardly put our smart phones down to eat dinner, at least not without opening up the ipad or turning on the TV. We feel obligated to respond to every comment on Facebook, every tweet and every email the instant we get it. And all that adds unnecessary stress to our already hectic lives. It also squashes our creativity. With so much out there on the internet, its easy to think “everythings been done before”. The truth is it hasn’t, each of us brings a unique quality to the things we do, making it different from everyone else’s. No one else has the same experiences or thoughts that you do. I’m not suggesting that you copy other people but don’t be afraid to try something that’s been done before and make it your own.
To truly get in touch with your creative side (and we ALL have one), you must first “unplug” yourself. As kids we we’re constantly doing, creating and moving. Often screaming at the top of our lungs, just because we could. As we go to school and grow up we are taught to sit still, be quiet and do what everyone else is doing to become “productive” members of society. But in doing so, we stifle our creativity and our happiness. We second guess everything we do, wondering if someone will like it or what they will think of us for doing it. I watch my daughter (age 4) dress herself, she has no problem wearing brown leggings with cats on them with a striped shirt and a tutu. She dresses herself based on what she likes often opting for the full length, princess gown, just to go to the market with me. Imagine if we were all so uninhibited?
A very good friend of mine recommended a book to me years ago called, The Artists Way, by Julia Cameron. She has since come out with another equally good book Walking in this World. I keep these two books on my bed side table and reference them frequently. One of my favorite things she talks about doing in these books is taking an “artist date” with yourself, where you go somewhere (like a walk in a park, a toy store, etc.) by yourself and just allow yourself to be in the moment. Be aware of whats around you and how you’re feeling. Its almost always in the down time that we have those “aha” moments, when the light bulb goes off and the new ideas start to flow. When you can step back and see the big picture.
To get the ideas flowing, to feel confident with ourselves it also helps to have a success. Finish something. If you’re a crafty person, Im going to make an assumption and bet that you have at least one project unfinished somewhere. Ask yourself why it’s unfinished and if you can’t give yourself a good reason why not, finish it. You’ll feel so much better and that rush will often lead you to your next project. Loose yourself in the making, the doing. Thats when I often come up with my best ideas, (I also frequently get so excited I want to drop what I’m doing and jump to the next thing but thats a whole other topic).
We all get stumped, but the best thing to do is keep moving. Whats that saying about moss on a rolling stone? When you feel like you’ve just got nothin’ and you need something, be nice to yourself and take a break, go for a walk, get away from the computer and your phone, get out your craft stash and start playing. Most importantly don’t try to force it, you’ll just break it.
Now if you’ll excuse me Im going to take my own advice and…