I’m struggling a bit with my creativity at the moment. I have lots of ideas all written down on my notepad, waiting to be born. I sit down to write, and find that I just can’t get in the flow of things. I have two travel reviews, a half-baked children’s book, about 10 blog post ideas, and three women I want to feature in my largely neglected Women With Purpose Series, all waiting to be created! I sit down and then, nada, nothing, crickets! I know what Liz Gilbert would say. She would say that I have to sit down and persevere, and just write-through it all. The magic will come. If not, I must persevere with my chosen passion.
But when will this magic come? I’ve agreed to work full-time until January, as we don’t know when The Ginger Hunk’s surgery is on the cards. It is all-consuming my mind at the moment. Waiting for surgery. His pain. His health. I want it to be better. While it is not permeating my every thought it is there, like an under-current in the background. And then when I get home from work, I’m working on a massive Suicide Prevention Project (which feels both fulfilling and challenging), I have nothing left to give.
So my ideas take a back burner. For now. Psychologist Robert Epstein says that stress is a well-known creativity killer. These are his fabulous tips for keeping the creative juices going through times of stress and making creativity a habit. (Read more about Epstein here.)
- Capture your new ideas. Keep an idea notebook or voice recorder with you, type in new thoughts on your laptop or write ideas down on a napkin.
- Seek out challenging tasks. Take on projects that don’t necessarily have a solution—such as trying to figure out how to make your dog fly or how to build a perfect model of the brain. This causes old ideas to compete, which helps generate new ones.
- Broaden your knowledge. Take a class outside psychology or read journals in unrelated fields, suggests Epstein. This makes more diverse knowledge available for interconnection, he says, which is the basis for all creative thought. “Ask for permission to sit in on lectures for a class on 12th century architecture and take notes,” he suggests. “You’ll do better in psychology and life if you broaden your knowledge.”
- Surround yourself with interesting things and people. Regular dinners with diverse and interesting friends and a work space festooned with out-of-the-ordinary objects will help you develop more original ideas.
So I shall attempt to keep flexing my creativity muscle during this time in limbo and see how I go.
What about you?
Does writing or your creative project help with stress?
Or do your ideas feel frozen like mine?
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