How to overcome creative blocks - Comment - Mixmag

How to overcome creative blocks

A common problem that affects all creatives

  • Fenny Nadorp
  • 20 June 2019

Fenny Nadorp is an entertainment and creative industry life coach with more than a decade of experience. She has been trained by neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) legend Tony Robbins, Chloé Madanes, Magali and Mark Peysha. She has teamed up with Mixmag for a series of topic discussions that artists, industry members and fans alike face to create and encourage a safe environment to openly discuss mental health issues.

Creativity is a beautiful thing. As a creative, it's important to take time to step out of the real world and into a world you've created - far from reality, and focus on your own visions and thoughts. Every creative knows that one day, you will hit a creative block. It can last hours, weeks, months and sometimes, even years... especially when you don't take proactive steps to do anything about it.

When you hit a creative block, inspiration seems to disappear and you can't find energy to create. You sit down to work, but nothing appears. When you hit a mind blank like that, it can be frustrating. You might lose motivation and feel empty. During a creative block, it's easy to procrastinate and get sidetracked with other mundane tasks, like scrolling through socials (which can easily lead to feeling like you’re missing out).

It's a difficult cycle, because without your creativity, it can feel like you're hitting more than just a creative road block. Worries about your income can begin to creep in, and feel exhausting and frustrating.

This is where it becomes important to try to pull yourself out of this dark state of mind. It's important to remember that creative blocks happen to everyone, and it isn't happening because you are failing. You are simply human.

First, try to pinpoint where your creative block is coming from.

Are you maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle? Are you avoiding destructive habits and mindsets? Are you surrounded by a supportive community who encourage you to grab opportunities?

These are just a few examples of questions to ask to see where a creative block might be stemming from.

Overcome and avoid external problems like feeling inadequate and jealous of others by limiting your time on social media

Get rid of disbelievers, or find a way to communicate with them about their affect on you. While it is important to remain open to constructive feedback, purely negative comments can be difficult to deal with if not addressed.

Create a healthy lifestyle: sleep, eat and exercise. Encourage creativity to flow by taking care of yourself physically and mentally. This means cutting down on bad habits that take away from a healthy lifestyle.

Create a positive mindset and make time to do fun stuff simply for the purpose of putting a smile on your face. This can be exercise, pursuing a hobby or spending time with loved ones. Remove any guilt about spending time on these "fun" activities rather than "productive" ones.

Pinpoint what fears you are having, and face them. Usually, these fears are not as intimidating as we make them out to be. If you're afraid of what people think, sit back and ask: Does it really matter what they think? Why? How do you feel? Is that more important?

Try to avoid overthinking.

Stop waiting for things to happen, and start taking a proactive approach. Get busy. Set goals and focus. Nothing will happen if you don’t start.

Create a routine. In the same way that you train kids to go to bed at a certain time, or a dog to expect dinner, you can train yourself to fall into a more productive rhythm for your creative process.

Create a creative mind for yourself. Tell yourself you can do it. When you start to hear yourself determine that something isn't possible, ask instead how and what you can do to make it possible.

Finish what you start. A common bad habit of creatives is getting distracted or deterring from finishing a project because you feel as though it's never good enough. Set deadlines for yourself, finish and then start something fresh. Even if the project doesn't end up being a big win, you'll at least give yourself the gift of practicing and growing.

Create your own way of working. Be curious and don't be afraid to experiment! Don't get stuck in the rules of how things "should be". Use your creativity and try different things. Some of the best sounds were created on accident.

Revisit the D.I.S.C. method. This method was first introduced in a discussion about combating feelings of loneliness, but can also be applied to help get out of a creative block.

Be kind to yourself, even when you feel uninspired. Remember, everything you need is already within you! But you are only human.

Fenny Nadorp is an entertainment and creative industry life coach, trainer and speaker based in The Netherlands. Find her on Instagram here and contact her at [email protected].

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