Dealing with creative block

3 tips to restore your creativity

I've always loved to write... I have had journals scattered in my room and often within reaching distance since childhood, later as a teen and now as a young adult. I grew up singing when I was sad and writing when I was mad until I realized how much I loved both no matter the mood. And creating was easy... but the drive to create would pop up unexpectedly.

Now that I have decided to consider myself a (beginner) songwriter, I cannot (and do not have the patience to) wait for inspiration to magically manifest. After completing my two year project, an 8 track homemade album called "Soulful Paris", I had a very hard time getting back to writing. I was creatively exhausted.

I decided to work on a collaboration, so I would feel accountable to someone else. I would stay on my couch singing the same two lines for four hours and I wouldn't come up with anything new. I would do that five times a week, after work, and still come up with nothing. Only to understand that you can only force your creativity so much.

So here are a couple things that helped me get back on track, that could help you if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Tame your inner critic

The worst thing about creative block is the vicious cercle it puts you in : the less you create, the more patience you lose, the harder you are on yourself, and the harder it becomes to create freely.

I would go to the movies, choose a musical (The Greatest Showman for instance), and end up feeling bad about myself for ten million reasons. For not being able to write songs, sing, dance, write stories, make videos, make movies (and cast Hugh Jackman), and become a trapeze artist. I would feel like I had run out of imagination, inspiration, and ability to act, FOR GOOD.

Well, you are not responsible for these thoughts, your inner critic is. And it will always be there. So name it (mine is Liana but I need to change that), learn to recognize it and don't be scared to kindly tell it (or her or him) when it is wrong. "Liana, you are not giving up, you are not stupid and you are not done writing songs forever. You are tired. Take a nap." As silly as it sounds, in the long run it works.

Know your worth

When I was in middle school, a teacher once told my class (feel free to send me the original quote, if there is one) : there are just as many versions of a language as there are people who speak it. It is so true. Whoever you are and whatever your field, how you use what you have and how you leverage your past experiences are necessarily going to lead to unique results. That alone should convince you of your talent.

If you need a reminder of how amazing you are, look back at your past achievements, completed projects and drafts you are proud of. Embrace their qualities and their flaws, your unicity and your progression. You did great enough times to know you still can do better.

Make changes and create freely

You cannot spend four hours, five times a week, doing the same thing, in the same space, with the same state of mind, the same self-inflicted pressure and expect to get a different (better) result. Breathe and try something else. Take a photo instead of writing. Call a friend. Try a new experience. Art is better when it comes from an authentic place. So live things.

After a month of desperation, someday I would sit, grab a pen and start to write about how I was feeling, with no intention to do great : "Counting days and running out of ink". It is amazing how writing that one line unlocked my brain and I started having lots of ideas.

I hope these thoughts can help you.

Keep doing what you love.


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