Clear Up Your Vision: 6 Tips On How to Overcome Your Creative Block
What happens when you have lost sight of vision? Most creative career paths often bring forth uncertain, unforeseen, and unorthodox situations. The nature of creativity is unpredictable in itself. Therefore, if anyone wishes to be successful in these career paths, having a clear vision at all times is a must. But when vision becomes a blur, it can also be expressed as a creative block. These barriers to inspiration leave you incapable of accessing your internal creativity and can last anywhere from a number of days to a number of years. You begin to question your purpose, your direction, and your process. Creative blocks can be difficult, but with these 6 techniques you can overcome your creative block and be on your way to regaining your vision.
1. FIND THE ROOT PROBLEM
Grab a pen and a notebook, sit alone in a quiet place, and take inventory of your feelings. Make a T chart (or download one here). On the right side, start to describe what you’re feeling on the surface. When you’ve figured that out, the next step is simple; ask yourself why.
Continue to ask yourself why until you feel like you have gone from swimming the surface to sitting at the bottom of the situation. It is important to give words to what you are feeling in order to become aware of the when, how, and why you think this block has developed. When you find that you don’t have anymore answers to your whys, then you have found your root problem.
2. GET INTO THE WORD
Most creative blocks are a direct result from a hardship in life. When you go through hardships, your mind is in chaos with questions that cause you to doubt God and doubt yourself. Insecurities, anxieties, worry, and guilt (all the spirits that are not from the Father) make their way into your heart and even cause you to distance yourself from God in times of trouble. So far, these feelings have disguised lies as truths in one form or another— “you’re not good enough, you don’t have the tools, you’re not as creative as them…” Sometimes we allow these thoughts to live in our minds so often that we end up accepting them as the truth.
The only solution is to go to the word of God because the word is truth and that is exactly what you need to hear in that moment. Go through your bible and, on the left side of your chart, jot down scriptures that speak out to you. If memorizing scripture doesn’t come that easy for you, no worries, that’s what technology is for! A great tool that you can use to get you started is the search engine in the YouVersion Bible app. Simply type in a word and scroll through scripture that relates to or includes that word. If it speaks to you, jot it down.
3. DETHRONE THOSE IDOLS
Did you know that insecurity, anxiety, worry, and even guilt can become idols? When we allow these things to sit on the throne of our hearts, which Pastor Mike Todd so eloquently describes as the Star Trek command center in his sermon Watch The Throne, we also allow them to guide our character, intellect, conscience, will, emotions, feelings, and thoughts. God sees man through his heart and it is his heart that he desires. It is our heart, that we should guard above all things and it is from our heart that all the issues of life flow (Proverbs 4:23). Therefore, if there is an issue of life you face, check your heart.
Go through the reflection chart you made in Step 1 and identify the times you may have allowed any other person, place, or thing aside from God to influence your decisions. Be honest and truthful with yourself. Ask God to help you search your heart and reveal to you any that you may be missing.
Finally, kick those idols off the throne and welcome God back into his rightful place!
(Keep in mind, this may not be a one-day ordeal for you and that is OK. It may take time for you to dethrone such idols and it may be an everyday challenge as these spirits are always battling to capture our minds. But consciously being aware of your heart and who controls it is a start. Watch Pastor Mike Todd’s sermon here for more practical tools on how to Evict Idols.)
4. GET OUT OF YOUR SPACE AND GO GET INSPIRED!
Get out of your studio! Go enjoy an unfamiliar space. And no, scrolling through your favorite artist’s Instagram account on a new area of your couch does not count! Get up, put something cute on, get out, and go meet some other artists. Ask them about their own work and their own process. Make the conversation more about them than about you! But do this genuinely because their work actually intrigues you. You never know if just listening to someone else's story will end up impacting your own. Sometimes we are so focused on competing or using each other to climb the ladder that we forget about making genuine relationships or simply enjoying another’s company just because. Take the time to listen and learn.
You never know if just listening to someone else's story will end up impacting your own.
5. FOCUS ON ANOTHER AREA OF YOUR BRAND
Humans have been creative beings for a very long time. I mean, just take a look at the one who created us! So do not fear, your creativity is not gone. It just needs a break like you do! As Elizabeth Gilbert says in her amazing book Big Magic; Creative Living Beyond Fear,
“The important thing to understand about…the exhilarating encounter between a human being and divine creative inspiration- is that you cannot expect it to be there for you all the time.”
Creativity is not something you can control. Forcing it will only continue to drive it away from you. So just let it come and let it go. Stop wasting your time trying to figure out something that is obviously not working. Instead, turn your focus onto another area of your brand—maybe even the area you pay the least attention to (like, ugh, accounting) and become passionate about that. It is not only your product/service that makes your brand, but a collective of marketing, financing, customer service, IT, and too many other things to list right now that add to the full functionality of the entire brand. Before you know it, creativity will come knocking on your door again.
6. GIVE THANKS
…you don’t know how strong you are until you know how weak you are. Because only until your weak spots have been identified can you work to strengthen them.
Be encouraged because it will all work in your favor. Do not despise such times. Even these hardships come from the Father’s love (Proverbs 3:11-12). Though you are afflicted God has not left you. Think about it. If he loves you but allows these things to happen then it only means even the trials are for your good. As the CEO of KIND bar (I love those things) Daniel Lubetzky once said you don’t know how strong you are until you know how weak you are. Because only until your weak spots have been identified can you work to strengthen them. If God didn’t love you, he would allow you to go into the next season unprepared and ready to fail. But since he loves you so much, he uses these hardships to strengthen you so that your success will be long-lasting.
The frustration you feel is real and it’s OK. But as the disciple Paul reminds us in his reflections, giving thanks to God does not mean the absence of your sorrow. In fact, it is in the presence of your trial, when you push through what you’re feeling, and your understanding and still give God the praise he desires, that God does his best work. Have you ever thought that even the creative block may be part of the creative process?
Give Thanks because his best work is still to come. And anyway, you have so many other things to be thankful for! You have life and working fingers that clicked their way to this post. Don’t allow one situation to be what you measure God’s abilities or your abilities up against.
1. Get clear about the root problem of your creative block, 2. Get into the word of God to find truth, 3. Dethrone those idols from controlling you, 4. Get out and get inspired, 5. Focus and get passionate about another area of your brand, and 6. Give thanks to the Lord through it all.
It is my prayer and my belief that these 6 tips assist you through your creative block and help guide you to clear vision once again. If you need some more help, click the links below to free downloadable showing you this step by step process with additional examples.
Is there anything I missed? How have you overcome your own creative block?