I recently made a new friend, who like me, also discovered a new passion when she moved to the Netherlands. She is passionate about photography and likes coming up with creative ideas for portraits. She arranged all the elements for the picture above, which became the invitation card for her baby’s first birthday party (and the featured image of this post!).
Meeting her is what inspired me to write this post and reflect on the idea of creativity. We are all creative humans, and we are each talented in a unique way. Whether it’s painting, writing, taking photos, baking, or gardening, there is a craft for every one of us. Some identify this craft at an early age, and others (like me and my friend) take some time to unleash their creative side.
However, there are still many people who haven’t accessed their full creative potential yet. If you’re one of them, this post is for you.
Here are some of the reasons why your creative side might be blocked:
- Your internal dialogue is too loud.
When I first started this blog, I was afraid nobody would read what I write. There was a voice in my head that kept saying “Who are you to write about this?” Or “This isn’t good enough.” I was also afraid of what others would think. Since English wasn’t my first language, I was afraid my posts wouldn’t sound native speaker enough. But I started my blog anyway, and I’m SO glad I did. The more I worked on my writing, the more confident I became.
In order to unleash your creative self, you have to be willing to quiet your internal dialogue. Sometimes our thoughts can be our worst enemy, and we need to learn how to control them rather than letting them control us.
- You don’t listen to the signs.
Have you ever come up with a creative idea, only to soon afterwards hear something related to that topic on the TV or radio? Well, this could very well be a confirmation from the universe. This means you’re aligned with your creative side and need to take action! The signs could come in the form of an article or a podcast, or even through someone bringing it to a conversation.
Whenever I have a blog post idea, I write it down in my notebook. And often, I will see this idea again on my Facebook or Instagram newsfeed. It will keep presenting itself to me to the point in which I have no choice other than to bring that idea to reality. These days, even a sound from the wind can act as a sign for me. I see inspiration wherever I go, and simply because I’m aware of it.
So pay attention to the signs, and listen to the voice that is telling you to start that project you’ve been wanting to start. Whatever it is that your creative side is craving, give yourself permission to do it!
- You are a perfectionist.
Another way we block our creativity is by striving for perfection. Many great ideas never come to life because we think they’re not good enough.
Whenever I feel I’m in my perfectionist shell, I read this quote by Natalie Goldberg, and it instantly sets me free.
So I encourage you to feel the same way when it comes to your craft. Give yourself permission to create the worst junk in the world, and to create for the sake of creating.
When we lower our standards a little bit, we’re able to see the beauty that already exists in what we do.
- You’re waiting for the right time.
Another thing that keeps us from creating is the idea that we need to wait for the right time. “When I have my own office”, “once I quit my day job”, or “when I buy a new camera” are only excuses.
It will never be the right time, and conditions will never be perfect. You might want to start creating now, because NOW is all we have. The future isn’t promised to anyone. So make it count today. Don’t keep delaying your dreams and creative ideas!
What you have and where you are right now is enough. Believe me. You’ve got what it takes.
- You’re distracted.
If you haven’t discovered what your passion is yet, it could also be because of distraction. Maybe you’re distracted by what others are doing. Maybe you’re distracted by social media, or the clutter around you. This is perhaps the most difficult obstacle to tackle, but if you start identifying your distractions, you can minimize them, and eventually eliminate them.
Whenever I want to create something, I first set the intention for it. I work at a desk that is clear of distractions, put my mobile phone on airplane mode, and start writing. My creativity is at my best when I give 100% of my focus.
In order to get those creative juices flowing, you have to honor the creative process by shutting down all distractions.
- You think someone else is already doing it.
Out of all the reasons mentioned in this post, please don’t let this be a reason for not creating. Imagine if your favorite singer would stop making songs just because he thinks others are already making music. Or if your favorite author would stop writing books just because he thinks there are other authors writing better books. It would be silly, and sad!
Like Elizabeth Gilbert said in Big Magic:
“It might have been done before, but it hasn’t been done by you!”
Each of us has a unique way to deliver, and by consequence a unique tribe. Creativity equals abundance, and there’s plenty for everyone!
Finally I’d like to make a deal with you. Let’s bloom with the flowers and create something new this spring. I don’t care how beautiful, big, or small it is. Let’s create for the sake of it. By the end of spring, feel free to come back and post a link to your project in the comment section below. If you like this idea, just reply with “I’m in!”
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