Do you ever feel creatively constipated? You know that feeling where you just feel backed up with ideas or you feel stuck because of lack of inspiration? It's really annoying and it's hard to overcome when you need to get things moving in your business or project.
When the kids were a lot younger and required much more of my time I would constantly tell my husband that I was feeling creatively constipated because I just didn't feel like I had an outlet to express my creative ideas. As the children have gotten older I've been able to do more creative things and even start a creative business of my own! These days I have learned about the struggles of working as a creative professional when you HAVE to produce things consistently but battle with feeling uninspired at times. (For example I'm writing this post at 9:40pm on a Friday and I'm ti-uuuurd.)
In this video I share three ways (plus one bonus) for how you can your creative juices flowing again. I understand first hand the frustration of trying to get things moving in a creative direction and I've found some ways that really help me produce when things aren't look so rainbow and unicorn-y. I've used these tips and tricks to help me push past creative constipation and publish my first book, produce my second short film, get booked in several commercials and recently got cast in another film that I'm very excited about being a part of.
Here are the three tips for getting rid of creative constipation and finding inspiration again:
1. Take Stock of Your Body
[Tweet "I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that don't work....genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration. -Thomas Edison @dijahenry"]
Feeling burned out can simply be the result of an over tired, undernourished, socially starved person. Doesn't that sound sad? If you had a friend that wasn't taking care of herself and she constantly was complaining of feeling sick and tired of being sick and tired, wouldn't you tell her to start taking better care of herself? It's obvious that an athlete's performance will suffer if they don't take care of their bodies but sometimes we forget that when working on creative endeavors it also takes a ton of mental and physical energy as well. Many studies say that you are more creative when you are tired. This article from Scientific America suggests off peak times might be better for coming up with ideas of innovation or that "aha" moment because at these times your brain will be less focused and as a result consider a broader range of solutions.
However, I'm talking about actually implementing ideas that require focus and concentration. The times when you have gotten your "aha" moment and now need to stamina to get through producing your idea. The inspiration will spark the idea while the real work of CREATING consistently over a long period of time will require you to rely on that amazing body and brain of yours!
So the next time you are feeling creatively constipated stop and see if you are hungry, thirsty, or tired and go take care of yourself.
2. Take a Chill Pill
[Tweet "One should never impose one's views on a problem; one should rather study it, and in time a solution will reveal itself. -Albert Einstein @dijahenry"]
They say Einstein came up with the Theory of Relativity while riding his bike. If this isn't reason enough for you to be encouraged to take a break I don't know what is! After focusing on a creative project for a long time you can literally push your brain out of creativity mode by overloading the part of your brain responsible for planning, executive function, and working memory rather than the part of the brain where people experience a state of "flow". Becoming hyper focused or "overthinking" can actually cause the feeling of being stuck and basically induce creative constipation. William James, who is considered by many to be the "father of American psychology", suggests that you "unclamp" by staying out of the details while you are making your general creative decisions to avoid paralyses by analysis. Taking a break and doing something you enjoy is the best way to get unstuck and energize you so you can get back into the "flow" of things.
3. Let Your Unconscious Mind Help You Out
[Tweet "The true creativity comes out of sitting silently. When you are so totally quiet that there is no thought, no wave in the ocean of your being, out of this silence comes a different kind of creativity. - Osho @dijahenry"]
Tip number three is very much related to Tip number 2. When you take a break and do something that engages your conscious mind you allow your subconscious mind to speak to you. Your subconscious mind makes connections that your conscious mind cannot make because it's processing so many things at once such as your feelings, your experiences, things you saw during the day, conversations you had, desires you are holding onto, etc. Creativity is really being able to take new connections between ideas that were previously thought to be unrelated. When you do things like take a shower, or do some aerobic activity you are allowing your subconscious mind to work and make connections while your conscious mind takes a break.
4. (Bonus) Remember Your Why
[Tweet "Whenever I feel like giving up I think about my girls and the type of women I want them to be. Then put my head down and I keep going. - Dija Henry"]
When you are in the midst of working diligently on a project, especially one that spans over several weeks or months, it's easy to lose sight of why you decided to start something in the first place. Make sure you are taking time to always reflect on the reason you are doing what you are doing. When you remember your why it should energize you to go back and continue working on your project. However, if you still don't feel energized to work when you think of your why I would challenge you to reconsider your why or even change what you are doing. Your why can be a great way to filter out ideas as well. For example if one of your goals in your business is to make people laugh and feel good about themselves you can create projects that fulfill that why and reject projects that don't line up with your "why". I believe that always remembering that there is something bigger than helps to put things into perspective whenever we are feeling creatively constipated.
I hope that these tips helped you out. Please leave a comment sharing your tips for getting creatively unstuck or if you have tried any of the above tips. I'd love to hear what has worked for you!