You are at the last stages of completing your project, but for some reason you keep making excuses not to finish or release the final product. You watch as your masterpiece slowly gathers dust on the shelf. You then begin a new project but spend all the time on researching and taking no action.
Take heart, because you are not the only one. Every creative person regardless of our medium, experiences creative block. Its an endless loop where we feel a lack of inspiration, procrastination, frustration, fear of the unknown, good ole fashioned self-sabotage and even feelings of impostor syndrome.
It can happen to the best of us, and its a natural part of the creative evolution (journey).
In the early stages, I struggled against these blocks, but slowly over time I’ve developed ways which enables me to quickly overcome such moments.
Below are five tips that I utilize to help me blast through any creative block. The artistic struggle is universal so I hope these following tips will help you to move forward quickly on any project.
1. THE MESSAGE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EGO
Ideally, every artistic endeavor you undertake should have an underlying message (story) that you wish to communicate through the project.
Always make sure that you are passionate about this message and that sharing the message is far more important to you than any potential bruising of your ego through feelings of embarrassment, nervousness, fear/etc.
It could be a message that springs from your observations of life and the world. It could be something that you paint or music you sing to help uplift someone after a heartbreak. This message (story) should be authentic to you yet universal for all.
The power of this message should be something that pushes you forward and helps you to put aside your worries and fears. This sense of urgency in the importance of your message should propel you past creative blocks and help put the pep in your step that pulls you out of procrastination.
The message can be uncomfortable or inspiring, uplifting or challenging. but be brave and see value in your message. Push through any fears and simply focus on putting your message (heart) out to the collective consciousness.
2. LEARN TO LAUGH AT YOURSELF
When we start something new, its natural that we make mistakes and sometimes fuck things up. Be OK with the idea of making mistakes, looking foolish or even failing.
(*This article that I’m writing is one of the first articles I’ve ever shared on the web, but I’m willing to take a risk, laugh at myself and improve as I go along. Its this type of attitude that helps me to breakthrough creative blocks.)
Maybe the work that you want to share is not quite the masterpiece that you envisioned, or you don’t have the right budget to make it as sleek as possible. That’s fine, its just a start, take courage and share the work and continue to grow from there.
Your first album might be made with a basic sound. Your first movie might be filmed on a home camera. Its OK, just focus on the task of bringing your creative vision to life and most importantly, sharing your message.
Realize the bigger picture and enjoy the transformation you will undertake as part of the growth of your creative journey. That picture is far more important than the immediate reactions you may receive about the work. Always be a work-in-progress and keep growing your skills and talent.
As you become more successful, you may get the chance to revisit your original work and then improve it in the way that you originally envisioned.
The chance to acquire the funds to do so, is all part of the results of taking that first step in sharing your work and being willing to laugh at yourself.
We Creatives care about every micro detail in our project and we find it hard to let go and release control of our work. Sometimes you just have to allow the world to takeover and trust that the conversations it sparks will eventually lead you to both your creative growth and the capturing of your fuller vision.
Learn to laugh at yourself and LET GO. Just do your best and share whatever you have at the moment. Go ahead and take the leap of faith forward!
3. DEVELOP A SPIRITUAL PRACTICE
Hold on, I’m not asking you to become a Bible-basher or a flaming warlock. Suspend your ideologies and beliefs for a second and simply tune into your heart. Breathe out, sit in a quiet space, reflect and create inner room between your sense of self and your creative output.
When we are about to create or release a project… one of the things we creative people struggle with is the fear of potential feedback, backlash or impostor syndrome. We worry about what people might say, whether they will understand the message (work) or will they judge us unfairly?…
This fear creates a cycle of worry that eventually leads to a rut and a series of excuses that prevents us from sharing our work. You have to push past this fear by using your chosen spiritual practice such as visualization, breathing, meditation, mantra, prayer or *whatever you prefer*, and use it to help calm your nerves and the anxiety you maybe feeling about sharing your work.
Let go of the fear of feedback, and put your creative energy out into the world. Some people will love it and others will fucking hate it, but that’s OK. You are not here to please everyone and its all a natural part of the journey.
Let go of your attachment to an outcome. Simply focus only on sharing your truths/message/story.
Sharing your personal truths and expressing yourself fully is the main job of a creative person. These truths can be expressed in any chosen medium (art/film/music/poetry/dance/fashion/photography/etc).
If you win a Grammy, Oscar or you get your book published or artwork hanged in the MoMA, (Bravo! that’s great!)… But that’s not the point of it all. Simply focus on enjoying the ride and let go of any outcomes, expectations or attachments to whatever you create… because there is also the other side of the coin, whereby your work may be derided or villainize as cheap trash, absolute crap and burnt in a public bonfire!!!…
Its all OK… learn to laugh at yourself, let go of your attachment to the work and focus only on sharing your own personal truths (message). Focus on capturing your authentic expression and just enjoying whatever comes along as a result, whether good or bad.
The more you are able to do this, the quicker you will be to bounce back from any setbacks and breakthrough the fears that can result in a creative block.
Don’t make things personal. Sometimes, it may even take a few years before people ‘get it’ and understand what you were trying to express.
4. EDUCATE AND ENLIGHTEN OTHERS
Try to use your creativity as an opportunity to educate and enlighten others. Whether its simply by sharing your life story or everyday experiences, your creativity can be used to inspire others or help illuminate dark situations in the human experience.
There are music albums made by a war child and books written by a single mother living on the poverty line. We are each blessed with a unique perspective that teaches us something new about life and helps to enrich the collective human experience for all.
Go ahead and share your own view of life. Every bit of life lessons is creativity for all of us and it definitely counts in this world.
Allow others to experience a new view through you. An aspect of life that they may have missed or never will encounter without you having shared your story through your creativity.
Be a voice for the voiceless. Take the opportunity and let it be important enough to help push you through any creative blocks that you may encounter.
5. CREATIVE PEOPLE REVEAL IMPORTANT TRUTHS
Creative people are here to reveal important truths. Our job is to strip away the veils of illusion and hypocrisy that blinds the world, and to share life experiences that touches the human soul and the collective consciousness.
We remind the world of the larger picture of the Universe, and help each other to find voice and express our emotions. (Have you ever listened to just the right song that captured your mood after a heartbreak and helped uplift you?)…
We Creative people, help facilitate communications and connections between people, tribes, cultures, nations and the world.
Out here in the world, there are far too many boxes that keeps people isolated and the human spirit locked, chained, labelled and packaged. We treat races, faces, genders, sexuality and ages as labels and place unfair burdens on entire groups of people.
We Creatives are blessed with an ability to help breakthrough all those boxes and reach the human spirit through our art and the sharing of our creative gift. Its this blessing that helps bring human diversity to our concerts, shows, exhibitions, cinemas/etc.
Its this natural gift that allows different ages to love the same song and dance side by side at a concert, or fills an auditorium with people from various races and walks of life who might not usually interact with each other.
This is a humble role to be placed in, and we should use this creative gift with a sense of duty and a realization that serves as encouragement for us on dark days when we may feel stuck in a rut.
Let your self-expression be the powerful tool that smashes down the unfair barriers and boxes of life!!!…
*Always remember that you are here to reveal important truths to the world.
Get yourself up, pick up that pen, paintbrush, microphone or camera and let the illusions fall!!!
“An Artist’s duty as far as I’m concerned, is to reflect the times. I think that is true of painters, sculptors, poets, musicians.”– Nina Simone