Getting Over a Creative Blockage

Stress and Burnout
If you are creative, saying no will stop burnout

No one wants to admit that they are stuck, or they have hit a wall, or that the whole positive thinking isn’t working.  In a world where a person is expected, and needed to be extroverted and happy all the time, and not thinking about the harder things in life there is not really the moment where someone can shut down, relax, and reflect to expand on being creative.  Writer’s Block, Artist Block, you name it, whatever you want to call it isn’t because of your lack of passion it is because of the lack of saying no to other things.

It’s because in a world that has no boundaries you are expected, and demanded, that you don’t say no- to anything or anyone.

This causes a big problem, as much as you want to say you have time to do everything, and really, you can’t say no to family or children.  Or, you can’t say no to your boss at your day job, even though you know that the long promised first draft of your novel, or that blog post was going to go up that weekend, no if ands or buts about it.  You didn’t say no to them, and then you feel guilty that you broke promises that you knew you couldn’t keep.

You can’t reflect, or even take a moment to yourself, you’ve overcommitted to something else.  You’ve said “NO!” to your art. To you.  You’ve said yes, but you will feel out of sync and a bit bitter, because you wanted to write, maybe make a bit of money from this passion, but you committed to other things.  You chose to do that instead.

In the short term, there is nothing wrong with putting something on the back burner for a few hours or days, but it is the long term effects that you will need to consider.

You’ve said no to you once, what will it take to start saying yes?  This isn’t a block, but rather this is a lack of boundaries or self-respect for your art. You made the choice, and no matter how much you justify your choice you still said yes to other things, and if you love the art of writing, or drawing or painting you will feel bad.

figure out why you have a brick wall
figure out why you have a brick wall

I know it’s a whole thing about saying yes to your family and friends, but it’s about boundaries for you.  I was able to write and to blog, and to even draw and be more creative when I began to say no to things.  I admit saying no to some of my friends was hard, they were used to the old me who would jump at the chance to go out one on one for tea, or hot chocolate.  They knew me as the person who “talked” about writing, but didn’t do anything for it.  What they did not care to learn about way the disconnect I felt after a coffee time, which took an hour, plus travel and they did not want to factor in the matter of gossip time it was.  I was happy to see them, but by the end of the time together, I was filled with… negative.

I would go home, and just not want to write, never mind blog. To make matters worse I would justify, excuse, and point fingers when I was not about to say that yes, it was me, I take full responsibility to what I said yes, and no to.

Is that what you do to?

Ah, the moment where it comes down to wanting to say no, my creative block isn’t actually a block, more than being tired and worn out because… “no” was too big to say.

What helps?

  1. Forgive yourself.  That’s the hardest part.  You’ve gone you’ve said yes to something honour your commitment and then say no next time.  Know you did your best and that saying no is hard in the face of others.
  2. Understand that it takes some time to say no.  Try something simple.  For me, it was saying no to staying up late on a Tuesday night talking to a long time friend about the same old thing.  Usually we talk about what her job situation is, and now, I simply say, nice talk, but no I need to sleep.
  3. Understand that people won’t be happy about it. If you want to be creative, you need time to do it.  If you want to beat the “block” and be more creative when you say no to something expect that they will be mad.  Not that they will outright say so, but rather that they will try to justify way to keep the status quo.  In this case, big relaxing breath, and say I’ve got a commitment I can’t hold off on.
  4. It’s your creative life at stake.  Remember that when your child asks for five minutes on the computer to play minecraft or someone needs to watch YouTube for a “few minutes.”  If you need something say you do.

What happens after your start saying no to other things?

The magic called momentum begins.  Take ten minutes to write that blog post.  Wait ten and take a look at it.  Hurray for you! Feels good writing a blog post? If it does, celebrate take a moment to feel good about YOU!

Next time saying no becomes easier.  You can set “yes boundaries” if you want.  Since we all love to be positive, try it this way, you are saying Y-E-S to writing, or to painting or some creative you time that can earn you some income that you otherwise wouldn’t have.  Over time, the yes for your creative life and the yes to what you value most will increase, and you will feel better about your fantastic creative side.  So start to unleash your inner creative spark, and know you are saying yes to being all the more fantastic.

writing quote Scott Card
writers and artists, all the same thing.