Have you been wanting to express your creativity by writing a book, open a blog, starting a business, picking up a new hobby, or through some other medium but something stops you every time you get close?
Do you feel tired, overwhelmed, or uninspired whenever you try to work on it?
Here’s the good news: you aren’t broken and you don’t lack the creative gene. You’re simply battling some psychological blocks hiding in your unconscious mind, which are not only common but COMPLETELY possible to overcome. As someone who has suffered from deep-seated creative blocks that kept me from writing and truly expressing myself for years, I can speak on this truth first hand.
Identifying your creative blocks is the first step. There are many different causes for blocks and typically, there’s more than one at work. They tend to feed into each other and create a wonderful snowball effect, like a traffic jam at rush hour. Recognizing them for what they are when they come up instantly takes away some of their power and puts it into your hands. Once you know what they are, you can start dismantling them and overriding their influence.
Here are the five most common causes of creative blocks that are operating in your unconscious mind.
Most Common Creative Blocks
Limiting beliefs are stories that live in our unconscious mind and shape our perception of everything. They are created by our experiences and the things we hear over and over until we accept them as facts, even though more often than not, they aren’t.
When it comes to your creativity, they may be things like:
- This is a waste of time.
- I’ll never make any money at this.
- No one else will like it.
Supporting “evidence” for these beliefs can be things like:
- This is a waste of time because I’ll probably never be able to make a living from it.
- I’ll never make any money at this because most artists never make any money, hence the term “starving artist.”
- No one else will like it because it’s not good enough or it’s too “niche,” so what’s the point?
When you really stop and think about these statements, they can be easily debunked. Expressing your creativity is never a waste of time, even if you are the only person who ever sees it. If you get joy from it, it has served its purpose, and you never know what that experience could lead you to next. There are a LOT of creatives out there (in every medium) making money from what they do because they got creative with marketing their work. We are in the greatest era to be creatives because the internet has blessed up with an abundance of opportunities. And there are literally BILLIONS of people in the world, so there is an audience out there for everything. You just have to find them. And again, we live in the incredible age of the internet, so you are much more likely to be able to connect with them!
If you never take the time to explore your limiting beliefs, they will continue to limit your reality and hold you back from things it deems “unrealistic” or “impossible.”
How often do you catch yourself saying “I’m not cut out for this” or “I’m not good enough”? Do you stop yourself from sharing your work or even exploring your ideas at all because you’re worried you aren’t up to par? Here’s the thing: everyone experiences self-doubt. Even the masters. The difference is the choice they make.
They choose to not listen to those thoughts and put their focus on more empowering ones. They replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Self-doubt is just another limiting belief that only has power if you let it make decisions for you.
If you feel called to do something, there’s a reason. Your voice is needed. Your perspective is important. Question the limiting beliefs your self-doubt is coming from – when have you proven what you’re capable of in the past? Do other successful people experience self-doubt? (The answer is a big YES – do a quick search and you’ll find a lot of people in every field imaginable speaking on this.) So, if it’s such a common feeling, it means it doesn’t (and shouldn’t) stop you from doing what you feel called to do.
It’s all too easy to play the comparison game. When we look at what other people are creating and the success they have achieved, it can feel like we are miles away from that. “I’ll never be as good as [fill in the blank] so why even try?”
The truth is, no one is going to do it exactly like you do. It’s impossible because we are all a unique blend of experiences, tastes, and perspectives. There are going to be people out there with a similar message and similar creations, but they won’t be exactly the same as yours. Yours will speak to someone in a way that others won’t.
Getting inspired by others is healthy and can be a great motivation if you approach it from that perspective. If someone else is doing it, that means you can, too. But when it starts to make you feel like shit and doubt yourself? Time to put your blinders on and focus on your work.
The discomfort of being a beginner is a very frustrating place to be, but it’s where we all start. You can’t become a master until you learn the basics and go through the growing pains of honing your craft. Even if you are born with an innate talent for something, you still have to put the work in to sharpen and deepen those skills and become truly great at it.
Don’t fight the process. Embrace it. Everyone who has ever built something worthwhile had to go through discomfort to grow beyond their comfort zones and master their craft. There is no fast-track to greatness. And the true greats know the journey is never over. If you stop learning, you go stagnant, and who wants that?
Fear is the biggest culprit of all and the underlying force beneath all of these blocks. Fear of failure, fear of success, fear of being misunderstood, fear of vulnerability, fear of being seen. They are all common. Often, you won’t even know that these fears exist. They will manifest in things like procrastination, fatigue, and excuses rooted in “practicality.” It’s sneaky that way.
The thing about fear is that you can’t get rid of it, but you don’t have to do what it says. Fear is a survival mechanism that our brains have developed over millions of years. It doesn’t know the difference between a mortal threat (like a saber tooth tiger) and something non-threatening like stage fright. It’s up to you to make the determination of whether you are going to heed its warnings or face those fears for your greater good.
Witness your fear, call it what it is and hear out its concerns, but then look at the other side. Make the decision that will support the life YOU want to live.