As creatives, we feel it is our duty to make things constantly.
We tinker, revise, and build. In school they remind us that our process should be free flowing and unique to us. But what happens when that process stops and it feels like all of your good ideas have forsaken you?
If you’re anything like me, your first reaction is to be frustrated with yourself. Why can’t you just come up with something? You had a thousand ideas yesterday, where are they now?
I am a perfectionist, this likely stems from my ENFJ tendencies and Achiever strength. When something is wrong, I tend to zoom focus. I have days where I have endless ideas and others that make me feel like I am wandering through the desert. It has been an exceptionally difficult lesson for me to learn not to tweak everything I write to be “perfect”. As a result, I write things as they flow out of my mind, no edits.
That being said, what do you do when you reach a creative roadblock? What happens when the good ideas just stop?
So many creatives excuse their writers block with the notion that they are waiting for inspiration to strike. But this isn’t always productive. We can make excuses all day long, but what good is a writer that doesn’t in fact, write? Let’s take a second to break down this “midnight disease”.
Now, you might not like what I’m going to say, but you need to keep going.
Just keep writing. For my writer friends out there: Say something, anything. This is the ace in your pocket. I know this sounds silly, but if you quit, it won’t get better. The same is true of making excuses, eventually you won’t find any reason to continue. Stop worrying about the significance and start somewhere.
Make it (pretty) ugly. My dad always used to say, “Go big or go home.” This applies to writing as well. It doesn’t matter where you start, so long as you get started. Some pieces might not be your best work, but that gives you lots of room to grow and improve.
The well hasn’t run dry. Much like water, there are ideas in there somewhere if you just keep digging. Sometimes, all it takes is a little push to keep things going forward. Sometimes it’s also a wastebasket full of crumpled up ideas and half a dozen empty coffee cups. Either way, there are still ideas rattling around in that creative brain of yours.
No idea is a bad idea. This might sound a bit extreme, as “good” and “bad” are both subjective terms. Just remember that there’s someone out there who is a billionaire for inventing the pool noodle. (My hat goes off to that guy!) If it inspires you or peaks your interest, it’s worth pursuing. Continue to be curious, my fellow creative.
Don’t let your headspace make you a head case. I tend to over-think things and analyze down to the last detail. Sometimes it helps to take a moment to get out of your head. Take a breath, go on a walk, have an adventure. Most of all, stop being so hard on yourself. Creativity is a process, not a destination. Stop thinking and start making.
At least I’m cool on Instagram (ha!)