There are many ways we can kill our creativity and severely limit our ability to naturally create the projects we have the talent and desire for. Here, in no particular order, are 7 of the most common Creativity Killers, and how we can avoid and overcome them:
Creativity Killer No 1 - Expect too much from yourself. Berate yourself for not creating a masterpiece comparable to Michaelangelo’s Cistine Chapel each time you pick up a paintbrush. Criticise your writing efforts for not being perfect on the first draft.
Solution - Be realistic about your expectations and your abilities. There’s a huge gap between having a talent and then realising its potential. A tiny proportion of artists are able to create great work each time they sit down to create. From the beginner to the experienced professional, we can all benefit from knowing our limits and gently nudging them further and further, rather than expecting a masterwork at each and every attempt.
Creativity Killer No 2 - Starve you creativity and inspiration. Avoid new learning, experiences and stimuli.
Solution - Read about the things you enjoy and some that you’ve never considered before. Notice your environment and the world around you more. Travel to new places - locally, nationally and internationally. Meet more people. Try different creative media, some you’ve always wanted to and others you’ve never considered before. Do all you can to broaden your experiences of life and your creativity will naturally be enriched.
Creativity Killer No 3 – Procrastinate and avoid creating. Find anything to do other than create. Vacuum your house, clear out an old cupboard, wash your hair, reorganise the contents of your fridge.
Solution – Create! There is no substitute for just going to your favourite place to create, getting your head down and creating. There are no short cuts. Yes sometimes you may be tired, daunted, scared, not in the mood. But just decide to create then do it. Also, remember that anything that doesn’t work out as you first expected (which for most creative people tends to be the vast majority of their work!) can be learnt from and developed into something new.
Creativity Killer No 4 – Neglect your physical health. Develop bad eating habits, don’t exercise, don’t get enough rest.
Solution - Over the long term, if your health is poor, eventually it will stop you doing most things, including creating. Eat healthily, sleep well, meditate, exercise, keep your body healthy and you’ll have more energy and motivation to create. By looking after yourself physically, you’ll also increase your self-esteem and confidence, which will naturally flow over into your creative work.
Creativity Killer No 5 - Don’t challenge yourself, don’t try anything different, stick to the same formula. Be safe and unadventurous. Write the same song over and over again.
Solution – Mix up your creative approach and the different projects you try. Create the things you dare not create. Often the most exciting and interesting creative work is produced when we dare to take a risk. Challenge yourself by having creative goals that are just out of reach but not out of sight.
Creativity Killer No 6 – Focus on creating what others say you should create rather than what you enjoy and what your heart desires. Create in an restrictive atmosphere of duty, obligation and resentment.
Solution – Think about the times you’re most happy creating. What is it your creating, what kind of work are you producing? Is it a particular kind of creative work or is it trying new things that stimulates you? What have you always wanted to try creatively? Look at ways you can incorporate more of these things into your creative life.
Creativity Killer No 7 - Neglect the other areas of your life. Ignore everything else in your life that’s of value to you and expect it to take care of itself.
Solution - Be aware of all the areas of your life that are important to you and give them each time, attention and dedication. Awareness and balance is the key. There will of course be times when you’re more absorbed and involved in a major creative project than others, but always be conscious of what you may be neglecting in pursuit of your creativity.
© Copyright 2006 Dan Goodwin.
Creativity Coach Dan Goodwin is the author of “Create Create!", a FREE twice monthly ezine for people who want simple and powerful articles, tips and exercises to help them unleash their creative talents. Sign up right now and get your FREE “Explode Your Creativity!" Action Workbook, at http://www.CoachCreative.com