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Linda Dessau : 7 things ... could be sapping your creativity

7 things that could be sapping your creativity RIGHT NOW!

By Linda Dessau

This was a very easy article to write. I was late in getting started this month, and as my publication deadline got closer and I could no longer wait until I "felt" like writing an article, I was forced to sit down and do it. In doing it, I thought about the last month (when I meant to be getting started on this as well as other creative projects), and I identified seven things that have gotten in the way of my creativity. Maybe you'll see yourself in some of these.

1. Not getting enough sleep

I noticed this one the most when I DID finally get a good, long sleep (the night before writing this, actually). All of a sudden my muse was speaking to me again (see below for more on that), the day looked positive and full of promise and I was open to the ideas that are always flowing around me. And I just plain felt good! Sleep is something I write and speak a lot about, and it's still a practice I need to consciously keep up so I don't slip back into bad habits.

2. Trying to do it alone

Bouncing ideas off someone else is invaluable to me. When I stop before I start (see below), and I don't consult or collaborate with others, I miss out on the collective voices that are available to me. Just hearing my own telling of an idea — reading it aloud or describing it — can be enough. Any feedback or new ideas is a bonus. If the idea is really fresh and precious, I may ask the listener not to give feedback, and let them know I just need a sounding board at this point.

3. Stopping before I start

Not carrying out my creative projects because of self-doubt, real or imagined obstacles, perfectionism or generalized fear. When it came to writing today's article, I had to "Just Start".

4. Poverty mentality

It's very constricting to be worried about money all the time. I'm doing a lot of reading and learning about this topic right now — I'm sure I'll be able to share more in future issues.

5. A cluttered work/living space

It's been over two years since I finished my first major de-cluttering and it's time for another one! Exciting! While my living space has stayed tidy, some clutter (things I don't need, use or love) has crept back in and is starting to gnaw at me.

6. Disconnection from my inner wisdom

When I'm rested and feeling well, I can much more easily tap into the ideas that are flowing around me. Whether it's being open to something useful in an article I'm reading, or just listening for the solution of that problem I've been struggling with for a few days (and really, it just "came to me"), the answers are there.

7. Disconnection from my body

If I'd been paying closer attention to my body's needs, I think I would have arranged sooner for some nights of extra sleep. I need to listen to the messages my body is sending me — do I feel nourished by the food I'm eating (or am I getting hungry too often), am I hydrated (or do I feel thirsty or light-headed, or is my skin extra-dry)? Am I showing physical signs of stress — muscle tightness, shallow breathing or headaches? My body will reward me if I listen to it, use common sense and give it what it wants.

If you saw yourself in some of these examples, take heart. Awareness is the most important step for change to take place. To look in more detail at your self-care habits, take the free quiz on the "Resources" page of my website. •

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Linda DessauLinda Dessau helps artists enhance their creativity by addressing their unique self-care issues. More »

3/25/05