They say that buying a house is one of the most stressful things you can do, and honestly, they’re not wrong!
This fact doesn’t escape me, especially because this isn’t my first house buying mission and this time, I’m selling too. As a highly sensitive introvert, the process has been fraught with a range of emotions from excitement to disappointment and even guilt. But perhaps the most frustrating of them all is that I’ve been experiencing some serious creative block.
Call it what you want: writer’s block, creative block, creative slowdown, work paralysis. For the past month, I’ve been trying everything I can think of to hack my way out of it, but it’s finally time to try one last technique – and that’s embracing it.
Why I’m embracing creative block
We all know how frustrating creative block can be. But, having experienced it on many occasions, I’ve come to realise that there’s always a reason why it’s happening.
Creative block doesn’t appear randomly, even if it feels like it does. There’s always some underlying reason, which should be recognised before you try to get yourself out of it. Because no matter how many hacks you try, if you don’t fix the cause, it won’t go away.
On this occasion, my creative block has been caused by house stress. In the past, it was because I had too much work on, or I had money worries, or I hadn’t given myself enough time to rest.
So while I realise my house stresses aren’t going to go away any time soon, I know forcing creativity isn’t the answer.
Hacks I’ve tried to overcome creative block
I mentioned earlier that I’ve tried to overcome creative block already. In case you’re wondering, here’s what I’ve tried:
- Forcing creativity by not allowing myself to do anything else until it’s done
- Setting deadlines
- Listening to podcasts
- Reading inspirational books
- Watching TED Talks
- Listening to music
- Researching and reading other people’s content
None of these worked even in the slightest. Forcing creativity is impossible and probably results in inferior work. Listening to podcasts clogged my brain with too much information and researching other people’s content opened the door to comparison.
I have an overthinking brain which when presented with stress, goes into overdrive. If you’re anything like me, then you may be coming to the same conclusion that I am, and that’s…
To overcome creative block, I need to embrace it
The problem with all the hacks I’ve tried so far is that I’ve been filling my brain with more activity when in reality, I need to slow all that down. As introverts, self-reflection is one of our strong points. But unless we listen to these observations and make adjustments, then what’s the point?
I wasn’t listening to myself, so instead of giving my poor mind a break, I gave it more to do than it could handle. I said “Come on brain, we can get out of this by doing more!” and my brain was trying to get through to me to say “Maybe we can get out of this by doing less.” So here’s my plan:
1. I’m going to embrace boredom
I don’t know about you, but I’ve truly forgotten what boredom feels like. Every minute of my day is filled with information, news, or some kind of stimulus. At the first sign of quiet, I will either reach for my phone, turn some music on or attempt to fill it with an activity.
There’s nothing wrong with this in hindsight, but it’s when I have these moments of quiet (that I’m not letting happen), that my brain can truly listen to itself and creativity reappears.
Logically, if your brain is constantly filled with thoughts forced upon you by others, how on earth can it think for itself?
So, I’m going to find the space for at least 10 minutes each day of silence and boredom. It may not seem like much, but this space will allow my brain to either rest or do its thing and think.
2. I’m going to tone down information overload
I read the news, listen to podcasts, read blog posts and listen to audiobooks. These are all wonderful things to aid in my personal growth, but right now, the sheer amount I consume is adding too much noise into my life.
In periods of high stress, especially for highly sensitive introverts, it’s so important to reduce. Each piece of news has an impact on my mood and outlook for the day. Each piece of content I consume fills my head with more ideas when in reality, I need less.
Until the stress subsides, I’m going to reduce but not eliminate. News is out, if it’s important, someone else will tell me. Content will be limited to that which friends or respected peers create.
3. I’m going to be kind to myself
In this period it would be easy to blame myself for the creative block I’m experiencing. But my decision to embrace it means I have no real answer as to when it might return. In essence, I’m letting go of control and allowing it to take its course.
So while this is happening, I will inevitably have some spare time while I’m not creating. This time, therefore, should be used to take care of myself and rest until my creative flow returns. This means real rest, doing enjoyable activities, journaling my thoughts if I need to remove them, perhaps even doing absolutely nothing – what bliss!
So if you’re in a similar position to me, it might be worth stopping the fight to overcome creative block, and instead embrace it. Because the world needs your creativity, but it can’t have it if you’re not taking care of yourself first.
Featured image by Essentialiving
Have you experienced a creative block? How did you overcome it? Leave your tips in the comments below and let’s share.