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Creative Self Sabotage - 5 Favourite Sabotage Techniques Of Creative Artists & How To Avoid Them

Dan Goodwin

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Whatever outside circumstances are going on in your life, there's only one person who controls how creative you are, how much you create and how easily you create. And that's you. Unfortunately this means that the one person most likely to sabotage and stifle your creativity is you also!

Overcoming these destructive habits begins with acknowledging when you're doing them. So here are 5 of the most common self sabotage techniques of creative people, and how to avoid them:

1. You never set aside regular creative time. One of the fundamentals to a life of creativity is to have regular sessions of creating. This builds your creative habits up so strongly that you then create without thinking, in everything you do, not just those allocated creative sessions. Set aside 15 minutes a day minimum to spend on creative activity, and prioritise it. Don't fall into the trap of creating only “when you have time", because you'll never have time.

2. You dismiss ideas before they're allowed to develop. We all have a constant flow of ideas in our creative minds, but if we discount them as soon as they appear, well never see their potential. Ideas don't pop out as fully formed works of art, sometimes the best ones are recorded in their initial form then given a few weeks, months or YEARS to germinate, before you return to them and develop them into something amazing. Capture all your ideas, you never know where they'll lead.

3. You don't acknowledge past creative triumphs. When you speak and think as if you've never created anything interesting or worthwhile in your whole life, it sets the pattern for future creative work. Take the time to look back over some of the things you've been most proud of creating - we all have them. Then realise you can reach these kind of moments again, more and more often.

4. You overwhelm yourself with choices. This is a classic self sabotage technique, giving yourself so many options you have no idea where to start and simply choose to create nothing. Setting a few boundaries actually frees your creativity as it has to work harder within them. As soon as you define a few edges, your creative mind begins to come up with ideas. Trust your creativity, it will always rise to the challenge of having a few limitations.

5. You tell yourself creating is selfish. One reason you struggle to create more is because you have a constant tension in your mind between creating because you enjoy it, and feeling guilty because of it, thinking it seems selfish. If you're creative, you have an obligation to yourself and to everyone else who will be your future audience to create. Your work can inspire, touch and motivate others, and make a genuine difference to their lives. That's far from selfish, in fact it's selfish NOT to share your creativity with the waiting world.

Which of these common sabotage techniques do you relate to? What steps can you take to notice them earlier and overcome them before they take hold?

And to get your creativity kick-started again right away, download your free copy of the powerful and practical Explode Your Creativity! Action Workbook at

From Creativity Coach Dan Goodwin


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