Are you currently experiencing a writer’s block? Do you have a column that needs to be sent to an editor by midnight, but you’re fresh out of ideas? Or do you generally feel like everyone around you is making videos, movies, acting, singing, dancing, composing, drawing, painting, and meanwhile you feel as if your mind is lacking creativity? Here are six things that are killing your creativity:
1) waking up late
Waking up at 11am and then staying in your pajamas all day leaves you feeling sluggish and dull, and your brain starts to feel that way too. Waking up early, and more importantly, starting the day right, such as exercising or showering and getting dressed may not necessarily lead to a more productive day, but it may lead to a more inspired one.
2) Your Netflix subscription
Alright, maybe it’s not the Netflix subscription, but spending too much time on your laptop might be killing your creativity. The internet can be a wonderful place full of inspiring ideas, but most of the time we use it to watch videos of cats taking baths. Need I say more?
3) Observing rather than doing
And here is what I meant by saying you’re “spending too much time using technology”. Sure, graphic designers and website curators use their computers, but they are creating rather than mindlessly watching videos on Youtube. I once asked my friend what movie she’d like to watch when I came over to her place that evening, to which she replied “Watch a movie? Why watch a movie when you can make one?”.
This is an interesting point. We spend so much time soaking up all the entertainment, we forget what it’s like to create it. Try being the person who creates the entertainment you normally consume, it might help you appreciate it more. If you think about it, of all the time you spend on your computer in a day, how much of it is actual productive work? And how much time and energy are you wasting on watching mind-numbing material with no substance. Of the information you attain throughout the day through reading, be it on your laptop, in the newspaper or elsewhere, how much of it are you actually absorbing? The process of writing, drawing or otherwise creating in any way makes you truly appreciate the ideas that are being circulated as a massive flow of information, most of which you pick up on but do not truly process. For example, you may currently be reading a very cheesy romantic novel by Nicholas Sparks, as a way of passing time as you’re waiting for your dentist appointment. But are you truly processing what the author is trying to say about love? Is he trying to say anything at all? Perhaps through writing about it, you may discover your own take on the subject and learn more than you would than just reading it. This isn’t to say that reading isn’t great, it most certainly is. But just how we have “active readers” in regards to studying efficiently, being an “active reader” when it comes to leisurely reading can sometimes benefit us in more ways than one.
4) Your perfectionism
Nothing kills creativity quite like perfectionism does. Perfectionism is your biggest enemy when it comes to completing a creative project- because it leads you to believe you’ve failed, and makes you give up before the project is complete. That is the true failure. To produce a piece of art that isn’t perfect isn’t failure, giving up is.
5) comparing yourself to others
NEVER compare yourself to others, or you will constantly find yourself feeling inadequate. Your creative journey is your journey, and yours alone. Besides, by following others you would never be unique, and what would be the fun in that? You want to maintain and nurture the part in your artwork that may be different than others, it’s what makes it unique and special. George R.R Martin has been criticized on numerous occasions for his outrageously graphic details and the constant deaths of what seem to be the “main characters” of the story. That isn’t the conventional way of writing, but who cares? Game of Thrones became a huge success! Own your unique style, no matter what.
6) Taking criticism personally
Any experienced actor will tell you this: “You need to become thick-skinned, become used to not getting the part, and never taking criticism personally after auditions”. Productive criticism is there to help you improve and make you better, learn to welcome it. This is, of course, easier said than done, and I myself have on several occasions found myself bitterly snapping back at someone for criticizing me. I even have a friend who once threw her coffee at a french fashion designer for suggesting that her colour was “all wrong honey”. But that’s what criticism is. Sometimes, it may even seem to come out of nowhere, or seem unfair, but you gotta learn to roll with it and not take it too seriously.
These are the six things that are killing your creativity, but you know what the most important tip of all is:
7) Be yourself
It sounds corny, but being yourself is the best you can offer the world. And who knows? You may create something beautiful.