Creativity is all of life. Every single action you take all day is creative.
Massive businesses invest in programs to amplify the creativity of their employees. Consultants are hired to come up with creative solutions to big problems that “logic” alone will not fix. Stanford University famously has d-school (design school) to allow graduate students from every discipline to immerse themselves in creativity-expanding exercises and group challenges.
Yearly I run a free online group that experiences the book The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron together. This year nearly 400 people are deep in The Artist’s Way process of creative unblocking. Each year, I do it with the group. I seem to be exhaustively creative- a maker and designer by trade- and each year I think I need The Artists’s Way more than anyone else that joins the group! This year it’s being run for all the folks who have done the Creating Genius feng shui guide… as it’s being supercharged with some extra feng shui and it’s extra fun.
Creative blocks are real and universal. We’ve all sat down to make something and come up empty-handed. We’ve all procrastinated out of a strange feeling of stuck-ness that is a mixture of fear and absolute blank-mindedness.
Even if you can’t plunge into the depths of your psyche and understand precisely why thins is happening to you right this minute, endless blank-minded days, endless creativity exercises and 10 times through The Artist’s Way have given me a cheat sheet of sorts that takes away the common sources of my own stuck-ness.
Today, I’m sharing the top ten ways I have seen myself and hundreds of others get themselves into a creative blockade. If you are there right now, empty-handed and staring with no motivation at your unfinished projects, this may help you to jump-start your creative life right now!
Are you feeling stuck? Here are some of the fastest ways I’ve seen to create a creative block. The great news: each of them can be changed pretty quickly!
1. Stop socializing… a lot…and you’ll get blocked. Connection brings inspiration. We are meant to connect to others as part of survival. If you start feeling crappy and isolate yourself, you start breaking down these important creative bonds.
In the Maslow Hierarchy of Needs pyramid, which operates from the bottom up and explains the sequence of stages that well-adjusted and self-actualized people move through to create awesome lives, connecting to others (the yellow band: belongingness and love) is essential to getting to the top of the pyramid where creativity happens.
Go out more!!!
2. Hang out with fear-friends and you’ll catch the fear. So, the refinement to #1: go out more, but go out more with positive, exciting people! I have a few fear friends. I love them, but I can’t get too deep in my socializing with them unless I deliberately want to get creatively stuck. Emotions have been proven to be contagious. Hang out with lots of people who share the gratest fears of the news, of world events, of their own lives, and share them with passion, and you may find all kinds of fear you never even thought about before becoming your reality.
3. Watch lots of TV and you’ll be a bit of a zombie . TV can be fun in doses, but if you are a TV a-holic, always have the TV on in the background of your life or… my least favorite… fall asleep and wake up to the TV… you may want to cut back. While I am not sure of the veracity of every fact in THIS video, I certainly found that this mirrors my experience of too-much-TV!
4. Get lost in the Internet and you’ll feel more lost. Internet is a massively creative tool. Too much time on it and its a massively huge time suck, bearer of bad news and, like TV, a semi-hypnotic space of overwhelm. Cut back on your Internet time, especially on the phone where it travels through the day in your hand or by your side, and you’ll find much more in each day to directly engage your life in cool ways!
(these look super-fun, but they can be a real beast on your brain in big doses!)
5. Skip meals. Or eat lots of sugar. And watch your brain sort of starve. The #1 way I systematically destroy a creative high is to stop eating throughout the day. I don’t do it delibeately. Start travelling, get deep into your day, and suddenly you missed breakfast or maybe lunch too. It’s not just me who has this happen… I’ve seen it a lot in others, too. For me, the farther I go down the road of missed meals the harder it is to bounce-back without feeling wacky.
The secondary way to get totally spaced-out and disconnected is to feed yourself tons of sugar throughout the day. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine . THIS article is illuminating. Quit sugar and watch your new ideas flow!!!
6. Overschedule yourself. Want to stop all good things from happening? Douse yourself in a bunch of obligations that make it virtually impossible to have time for yourself at all, nevermind time to think, to walk, to meditate, to play with art supplies or write in a journal. Even the super-scheduled can schedule in time for their own stuff… but it falls away when a schedule takes over.
(6 steps to better pastels right HERE!)
7. Stop learning and you will feel dull. When’s the last time you learned something new that had nothing to do with your job?
8. Screw up your sleep schedule and you’ll always feel out-of-the-loop. Typically if you fall into any of #1-7 the time you waste tends to erode your sleep schedule so you feel sort of behind during every day. And when you are exhausted or feel like you’re catching up with everything all day, its really hard to have cool breathrough thoughts, you know?!
9. Sit around and you’ll get stagnant. One of the cooler principles of feng shui and Traditional Chinese Medicine is that stagnation causes sickness and circulation heals. If you sit around all day without exercise, stretching, etc, and you will feel stagnant. Donna Eden talks in her book Energy Medicine about how marching in place while swinging your arms (*called the Cross-Crawl) actually links up your left & right brain activty. Go for a walk and you’ll see this principle in action.
10. Refuse to take downtime. The people who take more real breaks throughout the day are the ones who tend to get more- and much better- accomplished. Truly. It’s proven time and time again when tested!
Skip lunch to hang out at your computer, spend breaks surfing the Internet (*ahem, #4) and the like- all super-common these days- and you have more chance of fatigue and less chance of unleasing your inner Einstein! THIS article illuminates the huge importance of taking breaks!
I’m sure if you are an artist or a creator of any kind you instantly perked up when you saw this headline because you know that you need to stay creative to survive… but if you know people who are not traditional artists but yet are feeling really crabby, really stifled or otherwise negative in an uncommonly profound way, feel free to send this along to them. It’s amazing what happens when these really simple habits get pushed aside: a world of opportunity opens up.
Possibility is on the other side of even the worst creative blocks!
Why waste all the possibility in a day- or a life- feeling spaced-out and stuck, especially when it’s so exciting to get the flow going again!?! xoxo Dana
P.S.: If you want to really immerse yourself in the light of creative joy, so many feng shui tools are HERE for you in the Joy Immersion: 30 Day Negativity Detox!
And, if you want to dive in to your own personalized feng shui in a modern, practical way, Say hello to Feng Shui 101. Its the guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks. It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do. Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow. Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE… And, as always, please let me know what happens!
Dana, I am proud to call you an alumni of the Feng Shui Institute of America certification school. You multiply the same philosophy we teach a hundred times over. I recommend anyone reading these entries to tap into Dana’s knowledge and intuition for feng shui recommendations. She is one of our best!
thank you Connie, I’m honored and flattered and excited to see more people learning this powerful way to design!!!