We’re continuing the Dreamcatcher series this week with practical ways to ignite creativity and get unstuck with Dusty Hegge from Throwing Pinecones. (Be sure to check out last week’s post: Believe the Creative God.)
Every creative knows that writer’s block extends to more areas than just writing. There’s nothing worse than wanting so badly to create something but feeling completely stuck in the process. When we’re stumped on an idea or project, we tell ourselves that by enduring, hard work and perseverance will eventually move us forward. Sometimes it’s good to push through, but what if it’s time to do something different?
Getting Unstuck Means: Do It Differently
If you’re creatively stuck, why not change things up? According to BrainPickings.org, Madeleine L’Engle knew something about redirecting energy to mine for creativity.
Playing the piano is for me a way of getting unstuck. If I’m stuck in life or in what I’m writing, I can I sit down and play the piano. What it does is break the barrier that comes between the conscious and the subconscious mind. The conscious mind wants to take over and refuses to let the subconscious mind work, the intuition. So if I can play the piano, that will break the block, and my intuition will be free to give things up to my mind, my intellect. So it’s not just a hobby. It’s a joy. –Madeleine L’Engle on Creativity, Hope, Getting Unstuck, and How Studying Science Enriches Art
By directing your energy to something unrelated to the problem, your mind is free to explore new avenues of thought.
Breaking Through the Creativity Barrier
Here are some ideas to help you refocus your energy and find barrier-breaking inspiration:
- Take a break. Stepping back and exhaling deeply might just do the trick. As creatives, our heads fill up with too many ideas. Perfectionism creeps in; then, we’re overwhelmed. Maybe a nap, an afternoon reading a book in a cozy library corner, or a run will clear your mind.
- Go on an adventure. I’m not talking Mt. Everest here, simply exploring someplace new. Go on a walk, try a new coffee shop you’ve been interested in, go to a concert, or see a play. Get out of your house and go!
- Spend time with other creatives. You don’t have to create together, just hang out with other great minds. Brainstorm ideas or talk about the weather. It’ll take your mind off your work and give you fresh input and perspectives. Who knows what ideas an inspired conversation will spark!
- Dwell with Christ. This is a must for me any time I get stuck creatively. God is the reason we are creative: He gave us the desire to create! Ask Him for guidance and insight. Spend some time reading the Bible, doing a study, or enjoying nature. Make time to abide in God’s presence and let the divine voice infuse your creativity.
- Make a list. I think in lists and make a lot of them. Even if you don’t, this can be a really good exercise! Write down every project, idea or tiny little thought that comes into your brain. Make the list long or short. After it feels complete, ask yourself: what themes and patterns stand out? What’s on the page that’s surprising? Maybe it’s a clue to where your energy wants to go.
- Consider cutting something out. When I’m stuck on a project, I use the list to help me evaluate what tasks I’m dreading and what parts of the project are not moving forward. If my desire and inspiration have disappeared from a project, I throw it out! Life is too short to work on a project you don’t feel excited about.
When you’re stuck, it’s the signal to change things up. Tweet This
Move yourself towards the activities that consistently fuel you. Like L’Engle turning to the piano, that place you were stuck might just be the exact moment you are able to redirect toward a forgotten creative fount of inspiration, one that brings you a very deep gladness.
Write down three things that inspire your creativity: a person, place, and a thing. Block out an hour on your calendar to do one of them. Share how it inspired you on social media with the hashtag #dreamcatcherseries.
God, we are stuck in our cycles of doing things the same way, of looking at the same problem, of sitting in stagnancy. Redirect us to the places, people, and activities that infuse our lives with new things so our making will be reborn.
Dusty Hegge is an artist and blogger from Portland, Oregon. She recently welcomed a beautiful baby girl into the world. Her personal goal is to empower women to cultivate a relationship with God that is undaunted by fear and failure. She loves to garden and fights sex trafficking through the Rubies Project. Check out her blog at Throwing Pinecones.
Dreamcatcher is a series about being created to create. Making spiritual things. Will you follow us on this journey? Into the creating, the making, the exploring, and discovering, the finding, the knowing, the reaching. The only thing you have to be is you. Check out all the posts here.