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Brenda Johima : What is a Creative Block?

What the Heck is a Creative Block?

Tips to Move through it.

By Brenda Johima

Have you ever had a "creative block"?

"What the heck is a creative block?" I used to think. I had never had one before, and could never relate or understand how it could possibly happen to anyone. It made no sense to me at some level. And that was in part, how my company, CREATIVE NUDGE, came to be. I believed (and still do) that we are all creative beyond what we could ever create in this one lifetime. Our levels of creativity truly are, limitless. I set out to help people to discover their innate creativity and to live their dreams, believing it could never happen to me (a creative block, that is).

Well, I had a creative block! Oh my goodness! How can a Creativity Consultant, Creativity Coach, Graphic Designer, Creativity Speaker, Website Designer, and Fine Fun Visual Artist have a creative block? I had deadlines to meet afterall. Was this to be the end of my business? What if people found out? Well, now that I am putting it on the world wide web, they are sure to find out!

Anyway, to end the drama, it was awful. What I did try to do during that time of "blocked creativity" was to "practice what I might preach" in my Creativity Coaching practice to others, and to calm myself down, remove a little perfectionism, and see what could be done about this.

Usually, deadlines and creativity do not go hand in hand. At least not in a truly naturally way. If you truly follow your own inner creative process, it really cannot be rushed or forced. It really goes, and creativity flows, in its own pace and time, when it is ready, and not a moment before, and not a moment after. Things happen in the creative process, exactly as they are meant to, when they are meant to. That is great. But how does knowing that help you if you are experiencing a creative block? How do you create on demand if it is required for your career, or for your paycheque?

Here are a few tips that I learned from my own experience:

  1. Don't sweat it. Do something else. Don't try to force it.

  2. Go for a walk, a swim, a workout. Do something physical, to take your mind off of it, and to get the oxygen flowing back into your brain and body.

  3. Look at the big question "are you afraid?" and if so, "what are you afraid of?" and then once you have the answer, go out and do, that which you fear. It really does work.

  4. Check your inner self to see if you have been getting enough sleep, enough rest, enough vitamins and nutrition through your healthy diet.

  5. Practice deep breathing, breath work, meditation, and try making sounds with your voice, vocalizing and singing. We are trying to release stress, and move the energy here, and to open up the channels again, to receive the creative force.

  6. Create in a different medium. Switch tracks. If you are a designer, as many designers know, move to painting, and get off of the computer, to be inspired. If you are a writer, get out that camera and go outdoors and take pictures.

  7. Change your subject matter. Work on something else for awhile. Preferably something of a completely different topic, or even better, pick something that you know nothing about. Stretch your brain in a different direction.

  8. Stop being so responsible. Stop being perfectionistic. Even if only for a moment, or a day. If that is how you put quality into your work, and create respect with your clients, then you do not have to give it up completely, but you need to give it a rest sometimes.

  9. Go out and have some fun! Fun is an amazing creativity energizer and creativity motivator. After doing something fun and having a great time, and by being distracted from your deadline or project at hand for awhile, it is incredible what will show up, in order for you to complete your project effortlessly, and without worry.

My motto and my own quote of the day for today is "When people have fun, more learning gets done. When people have fun, more things get done." •

Copyright © 2006 Brenda Johima, CREATIVE NUDGE Coaching and Consulting Services.

Brenda JohimaBrenda Johima is a Creativity Coach, Graphic Designer and Visual Artist, living the creative life in paradise, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. More »