Three habits to break to unlock your creativity
Do you feel like you are in a creative rut? Or perhaps it feels like you haven’t been creative since primary school. Since then, it can feel like the most creative thing in your week is your Saturday brunch order.
In our busy lives, making time to be creative is one of the first things to slip. It's easy to become bogged down in our work, family and friends and suddenly our writing is neglected, our paints have dried out, and that big idea we had is pushed to the side.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Fostering creativity helps us to feel useful, connect to others and solve big challenges. Being creative is more than a side project or hobby: it can help us become an agile and resourceful employee, who is able to tackle big challenges and think outside the box.
However, being creative can often feel like a struggle. It requires time, patience and self-confidence. As someone who is often plagued by writer's block and self doubt, I know that it’s never easy.
It’s easy to slip into bad habits that prevent creative living. However, with some hard work and the right strategy, you can become more creative by breaking these three habits.
Procrastination can be the worst enemy of creativity. If you are feeling uninspired by your creative projects, or sitting back and waiting for inspiration, it's likely that it will never come.
Creativity is like a muscle… the more you work it, the stronger it will get.
If you are struggling to quit procrastinating, think about little habits that you can build into your everyday routine. If you are looking to write more, try micro-journaling every morning, or keeping an inspiration diary, jotting down all the ideas you have throughout the day. If you want to further your craft, try creating rituals to help you get in the zone, like setting up a sacred space and settling in with a cup of tea.
Over time, these rituals will help you break the procrastination cycle. It won’t be long before you love making time for your creative projects, and feel a sense of acheivement instead of feeling frustrated and uninspired.
Being overly judgmental
Being creative isn’t about being right, or the best.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you are not a creative person, or that you will never be good enough. Often we are too quick to judge ourselves or question our work, which can hold us back.
For many people, removing the stress of being the best will help their creative projects flourish.
As Elizabeth Gilbert, writer and author of Big Magic says,
“Recognizing that people's reactions don't belong to you is the only sane way to create. If people enjoy what you've created, terrific. If people ignore what you've created, too bad. If people misunderstand what you've created, don't sweat it.”
The lesson here? You have got to give yourself the mental space to create, no matter what the little voice in your head says.
Quitting too soon
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” - Zig Ziglar
Creativity is a process and will get better with time and iteration. If you can break out of the procrastination cycle and stop being overly critical of your work, the last thing you have to do is to simply keep going.
As the old saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. For many aspiring writers, bloggers or people with a creative side hustle, it will take time to gain traction and achieve your goals.
The next time you feel like quitting, try looking back at your favourite artist or writer’s early work and comparing it to their latest project. More often than not you will see differences in their style and approach. What makes them different to the average person? The fact that they kept going. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and go forth and conquer!
A version of this post first appeared on the Firebrand Talent blog.