how to deal with creative block

I'm sharing something a little different with you today - an essay taken from my free ebook, Nurture and Flourish. To access the full content of the ebook, sign up for my monthly newsletters, the Studio Notes, where I explore lessons learned from navigating a more creative path in life: 

I don’t believe in creative block.

Here's what I do believe in: the difficult business of showing up to your art, again and again and again. When it feels easy, when it feels hard, when it feels impossible. Finding the rhythm and the repetition in this process is the key to shutting the door on creative block and getting the work done. 

If you want to be a writer, a photographer, any kind of artist - the path is not well documented and so it feels sometimes like you must carve your own.

In some ways this is true - the journey or process is a little different for everyone - but this doesn't mean we need to figure it all out entirely alone.

We each have certain obstacles and patches where the terrain is a little rocky, where it’s hard or seemingly impossible to navigate.  

It might be:

- Feeling low on inspiration.

- Self doubt or a strong inner critic.

- A problem with focus or motivation or energy or time or money.

- Limited external sources of support.

... or a hundred other things.

The point is this: creativity is a vast, flowing river and it cannot be turned on or off like a tap, or blocked like a delicate stream.

The creative process is vastly different and yet strikingly similar for every artist.

Yes, there are always obstacles, but ultimately - if you want to create, you have to find a way to keep doing so in spite of those obstacles.

You must simply find a way to continually climb each rocky patch, to navigate the fallen branches in your way and refind the path when you’ve unwittingly fallen off. 

It's only creative block if you stop showing up. You're only blocked if you stop working to find a solution to the obstacle.

You must be able to keep going, to keep following that fast flowing river of creativity.

Don’t sit down by the path and give up, don’t turn around and go home - keep going.

The way you keep going is likely to change - don’t be afraid to step out from the way you usually navigate obstacles and develop new strategies or processes. It doesn’t matter how you do it, only that you do.

Just as our creativity changes and grows, so do our struggles and so do the techniques we use to overcome them. 

One thing that is a consistent presence in our journey is the sense of self and purpose that bleeds into the way we work. Staying in touch with that is a really useful way to keep showing up, and staying on that path of creativity.

Journaling is a really practical, tangible way to do this. It's a simple, accessible and routine driven habit that can become a map of your creative process. 

It will help you remember that even if the struggles and the overcoming of them have shifted, you are capable of overcoming. There is comfort and strength to take from the fact that you have shown tenacity and courage in dealing with obstacles in the past, and that you can continue to do so now. 

If you'd like to access my tips on using journaling in this way, and try my three step technique for journaling to overcome obstacles in your creative process, download the full Nurture and Flourish ebook: