Having not been able to write for the last 2 months, I have given myself many many excuses (or if I am feeling gentler,
they are just reasons!). “ I have been so busy you know” “Its been the school holidays” “I’m blocked” “I have to do really important business things” “I am so tired in the evenings” “I don’t get time in the mornings” “Once I am into my work during the day, I don’t want to break the flow” “If I do get spare time, I want to spend it painting (but I don’t)” OK enough said. It’s just not been happening.
It is a problem as I need to write a lot in my business. There are blogs to write, content to deliver, letters and releases to be written and manuals and materials…that’s a lot of material! So this is huge problem. So huge it has been placing me under greater pressure which of course makes it worse.
There are many common things which hinder the creative process:
– Managing loss (yep that’s a new one)
Perfectionism: I am a recovering perfectionist. I don’t like it, it still doesn’t feel comfortable to let things go which are less than perfect, but if you want to produce more than one page of writing a year, you gotta let it go. You have to accept that the costs for less than perfect, maybe the occasional screw up, or misunderstanding. That does not feel comfortable, but the alternative is procrastination, lack of productivity and stifled creativity. I choose imperfection.
Overwelm: well, where do I start with that one. Having had the summer “off” with my children, it feels like a mammoth task to pick up the millions of work balls, which I gently placed on the floor in July. (Yes, millions, because that’s what overwhelm makes you feel like!) and I can’t remember where all the balls are and what I am meant to be doing with them all. Just pick one ball up Jen, one that you like the look of, not one which feels too heavy or dull. Throw it around and remember what it feels. And just juggle that ball, on its own for a couple of days. Write just a couple of lines, not the whole hog.
Managing loss: coping with the grief of lost ideas and opportunities. Bear with me on this one. As a creative person, both painty creative and thinky creative, you get a lot of ideas and see a lot of opportunities. You just can’t make them all happen, well certainly not at once, and usually not in the scale you can imagine in your mind!
There is loss. You look back and think “where did that glorious idea go?” “What happened to that idea for a painting?” “What about all those blog ideas” “What came from that exciting meeting you had?” It is like a grieving process, it’s a loss, is very difficult to explain to others, and can really dull your energy. This may seem really daft to many people, but I have had to learn new ways of dealing with this, ways of reframing and letting go that aren’t that common place. I have realised that one of my ways of dealing with this, is to support others to grasp and bring their ideas into fruition…. that’s why I coach people and especially love helping creative people move into action.
So today, I choose the plunger approach. Plunging myself in at the deep end. I have left the distractions of email at home, chosen a café without WIFI (…trust me this is a must). I did some “planning” and mind mapping on paper, realised I was still procrastinating and loving told myself so. Opening the lap top. Ranting a bit can help move the blocked stuff. If what you planned to write about doesn’t happen easily, pick something else. ( NB I don’t always use the plunger, sometimes a gentler approach is required)