If you’re having trouble starting a new project or feel stalled on the creative process, there are some common culprits that could be causing the problem. Here are five things that are zapping your creativity.
Enemy #1: Information overload. The Internet is one of the most creative spaces there is. But between Pinterest, blogs, Instagram, and YouTube, we could easily get stuck looking at creative things all day without actually doing anything creative. It’s easy to get sidetracked and overwhelmed when browsing the web for ideas…especially when you throw FB notifications and texts to the mix. Too much inspiration can make us unsure about where to start or how to start, which can lead to no start at all.
How to overcome it: It’s fine to turn to Pinterest for inspiration and ideas, but put a time limit on your research. Daydreaming and planning is most definitely part of the creative process, but it’s only the first step. Make your workspace an internet-free zone, so you can listen to your inner voice and explore your creativity without relying on other people’s ideas when you get stuck.
Enemy #2: Workspace clutter. Think of your workspace as a blank canvas. When it’s clean, the possibilities are endless. But when it’s full of in-progress projects, yesterday’s mail, and a half-eaten candy bar, it’s hard to see the canvas with a fresh eye. Many times, the dread of cleaning your workspace makes you more likely to put off a project or avoid starting a new one.
How to overcome it: A clutter-free environment lets you think creatively without getting distracted. Set aside ten minutes each time you finish a project to put things away. Out of sight means out of mind, so when everything is put away you’ll be able to focus all your creativity in one place. It also means you’ll be able to jump right into your next project without adding “cleaning” to your to-do list first.
Enemy #3: Multitasking. If your to-do list is a mile long, you’re much more likely to be distracted when starting a craft, or pushing the craft aside when reality calls. And while multitasking sometimes seems like a good idea, catching up on episodes of Scandal while answering work e-mails, making dinner for the family, and crafting could end up in mistakes and more work in the long run. Plus, your brain is switching from one thing to another so fast that it doesn’t have time to delve into the craft and get creative.
How to overcome it: Instead of trying to do many things at once, set aside a certain time every day to focus on your craft. When your attention isn’t divided, you can concentrate more on the creative process and your passion. Crafting will stop feeling like something you need to squeeze in between other things and start to feel like an everyday luxury.
Enemy #4: Your inner perfectionist. We’ve all been there. You start a project you pinned on Pinterest and the final product looks nothing like the picture. Your inner critic comes in, telling you that you should have used a different fabric, splurged on the more expensive yarn, or practiced your brushstrokes before starting. This perfectionist mentality leaves no room for creativity and will almost always lead to disappointment in the final product.
How to overcome it: Creativity is a journey, so instead of always focusing on the final craft or what others will think when they see it, just enjoy the steps! Finding happiness in choosing supplies, letting your mind wander while designing, and carving out time in your schedule to work on a new project will expand your creativity and make you proud of the finished craft.
Enemy #5: Deadlines. Besides being stressful, deadlines can quickly turn play into work. You become so focused on when it gets done, rather than how it gets done. A really creative final product needs a little planning, a little experimentation, and a little contemplation. If you’re working with a limited time period, you sometimes don’t have the freedom to totally give yourself to a craft and see where it takes you.
How to overcome it: Deadlines are unavoidable, but they only zap your creativity if you let them. Instead of thinking, “this project will only take me a few hours, so I’ll wait until the last day,” get in the habit of doing everything ahead of schedule – that way, you have time to get creative without worrying about simply getting it done in time.