5 Common Roadblocks to Getting into Creative Flow
You know the feeling. There’s a deadline looming, and your mind has gone completely blank. Nothing, nada. It’s like your brain has frozen. Luckily the latest research shows us the most common roadblocks to creativity, and how to move past them and get on with the job.
Fear of Failure
Most people are afraid of failing because they see it as a one-way street to disaster, rejection, and a stain on their reputation forever. Perversely, fear of failure is the mirror image of perfectionism. The idea that nothing you can do will be good enough, and that this failure defines your identity.
Fear of failure means you’re less likely to take risks, and you put off even starting. And those are two things that can kill creativity stone dead. Redefine creativity as a series of experiments, with failure as a kind of course-correction and an inevitable part of the process.
There’s not enough time
The ticking clock is another creativity killer. If you’re like most people, your schedule is probably crammed, and you feel like you’ll never catch up. If your checklist just keeps growing, you won’t be able to relax in the creative process and let the ideas flow.
A surprising way to find more time is to quarantine some chillout time in your diary. Priorities some downtime to listen to music, meditate, or just sit quietly. You’ll feel much less stressed and open to the creative flow.
You’re still staring at the screen
Sitting at your desk, staring at the computer or the blank page is not a good way to get creative. If you’ve been trying to write or problem-solve and it’s just not happening, the best thing you can do is go for a walk or make a coffee. Get out of the environment that’s keeping you stuck, get moving, and your mental gears can disengage and relax enough to be ready when inspiration strikes.
You’re feeling negative
Negative thinking can stop creativity in its track. If you’re sitting there frowning, and thinking you can’t do it, you’re pretty much guaranteeing that you won’t be able to do it.
Pessimism and negative self-talk set up a vicious cycle of gloom and low energy. Reject that self-defeating attitude and give yourself a pep talk. Reframe your task and just promise yourself you’ll write down whatever comes into your head, just to get the process started. Remember, first drafts are invariably not your best product, because that’s what a first draft is for! You’ve done good work before, you’ll do it again. Tell the muse you’re ready and get writing!
-ZURICK NELSON, BLOG WRITER
6 Things You Didn’t Know About Highly Creative People
You may not realize that there are some differences between ordinary folks and highly creative people. If you’re friends with people who are highly creative, you’ve probably noticed they see the world in a slightly different way. But scientists have now found that their brains not only work differently, but their neural hardwiring is also unique. Creatives can sometimes be challenging to get along with, but it helps to understand why.
They’re always thinking
Supercharged creative people always have something on the go. There’s always part of their brain that’s still in the studio or still writing. Creatives are usually very curious people, always wondering what if, or why? The problem-solving part of their brain just doesn’t slow down.
They push back
One of the key characteristics of highly creative people is not taking the status quo on face value. They like to push back, to poke and ask the difficult questions. You’ll often hear the words ‘why?’ or ‘why not’ on their lips.
They follow their own path
To thine own self be true is the creative’s motto. Living authentically and in a way that’s aligned with their values is an absolute priority for them. They don’t just question the status quo, they reject following the herd, and they don’t mind having unpopular opinions.
Their path isn’t linear
A highly creative person’s mind often works in loops or spirals. They don’t tend to think in a linear, logical fashion and will often make great creative leaps. Einstein famously said that imagination is more important than knowledge, and this is exactly what he meant. The creative’s capacity to see connections can sometimes border on genius.
Creatives need downtime and space
Highly creative people will often work for extended periods and then need equal amounts of downtime to recover their energy. This can mean solitude, but not always as quiet companionships can be just as reviving as being alone. Scheduling doesn’t work so well and can even stifle the creative spirit. Similarly, creativity needs space, quiet, and separation from the day-to-day.
Creatives are storytellers
Highly creative people are often highly sensitive to images, metaphors, and stories. Creativity is fundamentally about conveying a story from the artist to the viewer or reader. The narrative is the most ancient way of passing on deep truths like creation stories, heroic sagas. Creativity is the bedrock of humanity and a key element that separates us from other creatures. Telling stories helps us understand the world, to explain what we experience and to transcend the everyday.
-ZURICK NELSON, BLOG WRITER
5 Reasons to Develop Your Creativity in Daily Life
You might think that creativity is something you can’t do. So many people say, ‘oh I’m just not the creative type.’ But it is within everyone to be creative. And it’s not just good for the soul to sketch or play with clay or embroider. Creativity comes in all shapes and sizes, and it has some unexpected benefits for the rest of your life.
Creativity helps you solve problems
Fostering your creativity trains your brain to be more adaptable and flexible in dealing with all sorts of problems. Not just how to get that pot completely balanced and smooth, but how to solve that problem with a work project or a relationship or a career issue.
Being creative takes you out of the linear thinking mode and the confines of regular logic. Options stop being only black and white. Your mind can look at your problem from many different angles and sees potential nuances that you otherwise might miss.
Creativity can help you live longer
Surprising but true. Studies have shown that being creative can actually reduce your mortality risk and add years to your life. Making, drawing, woodwork, knitting, or painting all fire different neural pathways in your brain and help to reduce stress and anxiety. Creativity slows cognitive aging and enables you to lead a happier, more fulfilling life.
Creativity grows your confidence
Learning a creative skill takes application and lots of practice. You’ll make a lot of mud pies and lopsided pots before you can create beautiful and functional tableware. Mastering your chosen art form helps you develop confidence in your abilities that will overflow into other areas of your life. As you overcome failure and succeed in making beautiful things, you will see that persistence and optimism is the way to success.
Creativity is immensely satisfying
There is nothing like starting with raw materials and being able to make something unique from them. Whether you start with a lump of clay or you make your summer wardrobe from scratch, you know you have the skills and creative spark to make whatever you want. You aren’t dependent on stores and other people’s work. You know you can start with zero skills and learn a completely new skill.
Creativity helps you express yourself
Making an artwork or a piece of writing or an item of clothing allows you to make something that is completely yours. No one else can make the exact same thing that you can.
Living a creative life can help you see that whatever you bring to the world is unique and special.
-ZURICK NELSON, BLOG WRITER
5 Ways in Which Creative People Make Outstanding Entrepreneurs
You might think that being creative doesn’t stack up well with business. After all, the stereotype of the suffering artist or writer wrestling with the Muse doesn’t sound like a great candidate to be running a company, right? But in fact, creative people make outstanding entrepreneurs.
Researchers have found that there are a number of characteristics creatives share, which can make them innovative and successful businesspeople.
Creatives are innovative
Creative people tend to take a different, even quirky view of the world. They have flexible, adaptive minds and can often find solutions to tricky problems. And they’re really good at coming up with lots of new ideas.
Creative processes mirror business processes
It might sound surprising, but the stages of developing a creative project are very similar to those involved in setting up a business. Commonly there are four steps to each enterprise. There is a research phase, gathering information about an issue, product, or problem. There is an ‘incubation; stage where this information gets processed, followed by a big breakthrough Eureka moment when the solution becomes clear. Then comes the final testing phase, where the creative/entrepreneur tests the solution to see if it works. This applies whether you’re setting up a business, launching a new product, or writing a novel.
Creatives and entrepreneurs work in the same conditions
Both creatives and entrepreneurs work in a flexible, highly changeable environment. There is the freedom to float and test new ideas in a less structured environment than a regular job or company.
There are risks and sometimes high stakes involved, but for the creative and entrepreneur alike, this is fertile ground that can allow innovative ideas to flourish.
One of the hallmarks of the creative mind is being able to think outside the box and make connections between superficially unrelated ideas. They are also intensely curious and want to know the ‘why’s and ‘why nots’ about the world.
Entrepreneurs are also eclectic thinkers who are not afraid to try new strategies and ideas to see what happens. Both types are big on the ‘what if’ approach to the world.
They are great at communicating their message. Both creatives and entrepreneurs are likely to be passionate about their work and have great powers of persuasion. They have thought about it and worked at it and lived it, so they know it inside out, and they care about sharing their passion with the world.
-Zurick NELSON, Blog Writer
4 Easy Ways to Train Your Brain to Be More Creative
You might be surprised to hear that you can actually train your brain to be more creative. Oftentimes, people think that creativity is some mystical, innate skill, and you either have it, or you don’t. But research has shown that there are some strategies you can use to stimulate creativity in your everyday life and benefit from new ways of thinking and problem solving.
Switch up your regular routine
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of doing things the same way every day. But the more you stimulate your brain with change and novelty, the more flexible and creative your brain gets.
Keep your creative mind on its toes by reading new books, trying different foods and places to eat, even trying different routes through your neighborhood. Switching up your usual routines will stimulate your mind and get you thinking about new possibilities and approaches to life.
Relax the rules
So much of what you do is bounded by shoulds and the should nots. From those eight glasses of water you’re supposed to drink, the right foods to eat, and how much and when, to whether it’s okay to talk in the elevator, much of your life is probably restricted by how you think you should behave.
Try breaking some of the rules today. Smile and say hi to the waiter or the bus driver. Crack a joke in that silent elevator. Open up a bit and allow your creative, maybe even slightly anarchic brain to flourish.
Look around you
Another good way of relaxing your mind and allowing your creativity to grow is to simply sit in the present and observe what’s going on around you. Work your way through each of your senses and really notice your environment. What can you hear, see, smell, feel, even taste? Notice everything and then write down what comes into your head.
When you walk down the street, look up and around. Chances are you’ll be the only person not looking at their phone or frowning into the idle distance. Don’t miss out on noticing the signs of spring or autumn. Look up and around and see how many colors and textures are right there in front of you.
Really talk to people
How much of your conversation is either you talking or being talked at? Step back a little and really engage with other people. Don’t just talk or think of what you’re going to say next. Practice active listening and give the other person space to speak.
Real conversation can open up all sorts of possibilities and creative solutions you might never have thought of.
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