What is Blocking Your Creativity?

So what is blocking your creativity? Have you really thought about that? Today I’m going to be brave and list some of the things I know are blocking my creativity–and what I’m going to do about it. Maybe it will inspire you to think about where you’re at and what you can do, too.

Procrastination! I procrastinate by doing the “must do” things first (that really aren’t “must do’s” … you know, check email, post on FB and Twitter, get a snack, check the mail box, wash the dishes…) and leave creative endeavours until I’m too tired to think of anything creative. And so I just zone out in front of the TV or go to bed early or whatever.

Fear! Two fears, actually: one, that creativity is me-centered and maybe not in the Creator’s plans, desires, purposes for me; and two, that I’ve never actually finished up my writing-based creative endeavours unless they were for work or school (or on a blog like this one, or on Quora or Medium, where I’m not worried about it because not too many people will see it anyway and be critical), or they involved money (income) or marks/grades. Oh, make that three fears: I’m also afraid of not finishing yet another project (I have so many 3/4 done–or finished but not published). And I’m afraid of not succeeding if I do finish. I’d rather guide someone else in their project (which I have often done) than take a chance on ME… 😦

Work or Play? I have this kind of idea that to be creative, whatever it is I’m doing needs to be “play” and “fun” rather than “work.” If I have a goal, then it feels like work and responsibility, in which case I’m not very motivated unless there is some kind of payment/reward–or approval!–associated with it. As soon as it’s a “project” it loses its fun…). I do lots of “freebie” stuff for fun, but I’m wondering if it’s time to try to gain something from it, other than just fun.

So … What do I plan to do about these problems?

Well, a year or so ago I had a schedule which specifically listed what I was to do in my scheduled creativity time (blog, story writing, Quora, whatever) so then I did THAT thing. Right now my schedule leaves those blocks of time open to whatever I feel like doing. Theoretically that means doing creative thing, but mostly I’m wasting them as I procrastinate from doing what I deep down want to do but am afraid of.

  • I have an agenda book in which I list all my tutoring lessons and editing times. But I just assume I’ll fit my personal writing and other creative endeavors in somewhere. I’m best with fresh, creative thinking and activities first thing in the morning (I’m a 5 am person!) but since I haven’t blocked in those early couple of hours for writing or whatever, I just let them fill up with all that other stuff. So, I have to block in creativity time just like I do with tutoring or editing. And I have to decide how many hours (or hour or less) I’ll spend each day on social media and other stuff … and block in time for that too. Oh, and not worry about the dishes. Hubby can do them … or I can do them at the end of the day; they don’t take creative thinking at all!
  • That first fear goes way back to my early childhood when “creativity” wasn’t considered important. Or Godly. I do NOT have to keep hanging on to that. It’s wrong. Let it go!
  • That second fear is related to my childhood training about being *responsible* (and apparently creativity didn’t fit unless it was something that was related to work or to gain approval from certain authority figures in my life. Yeah, gotta let that go, too…
  • That third fear: is just ridiculous. Creativity is from me and for me. Not to make other people happy. Not to make income (though that’s a nice perk when it happens). Not to get good grades (good grief, I’ve been out of school and college for 40 years. Why am I still trying to make the “honour roll”?). As for helping other people–yep, that’s part of my childhood training, too: we are here to *serve* (and be approved of and make other people happy…). Gotta let that go, too.
  • Why shouldn’t I make some $$ from my creative efforts? What’s with this dualistic outlook I have, anyway? Why can’t creativity be an integral part of my whole life? (Oh yeah… responsibility. service. approval… silly!) Okay, then! I AM going to change direction; this means less tutoring and traditional editing, and more writing and coaching and speaking, things I love, things that are fun, things that for me are creative. Yes, yes, yes!

Want more tips on writing creatively? Check out this entire series:

What is Blocking Your Creativity?
Creativity: Planning and Organizing
Creativity: Be Unique, Original
Activities to Stimulate Creative Thinking
Creative Writing Relationships
Try Lots of Different Writing Formats

And while you’re at it, why not check out my creativity tips for students series over at my PenAndPaperMama.com site.

What about *you*? What’s blocking your creativity? Why not share your thoughts in the comments–and your solutions!

(And if you have any suggestions for me on how to “let go” of those childhood lessons, I’d appreciate hearing that, too 🙂 )

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