7 Things That Are Killing Your Creativity
How to Keep Being Creative Even When There Are Roadblocks in Your Way
I am a creative for a living. My hobbies are even creative. In Fact, I thank creativity each day for keeping me alive—because without it I don’t know where I would be.
As someone that spends most of their day being creative (from work articles and editing a literary journal I publish myself to working on my own books, and from crafting artistic dream catchers and making jewelry), I need to know how to keep my creative juices flowing.
I have found, in my almost two decades as a full-time creative, that there are many things that can put a damper on your creativity. While even after your creativity is killed you can revive it, it’s important to pinpoint the things that are killing your creativity and figure out how to change them.
Here are some of the things I have experienced that have messed with my ability to be creative, and how I worked around them to keep my love for art, writing, crafting, and music alive:
1. The Clutter in Your House
As a recovered packrat, I know the negative effects of clutter. As a full-time artist/writer/crafter, I know that even the important clutter can be a huge distraction and killer of creativity.
Every time I work on a project, like my dream catchers, I suddenly have an office full of clutter because it takes so many items to do that one project. By the time I put five hours into making a dream catcher I don’t want to spend another hour sorting and putting away supplies—and then they stack up.
Those random piles of arts and crafts clutter distract me from working on articles. When I finally get around to cleaning, what would have been an hour project takes me three… and then I’ve lost time I could have been using for other creative endeavors and I am too exhausted to be creative.
The Fix: Have a place for everything and put everything in its place when it's not in use. I have shelves and storage containers galore in my office/art room and they are filled and stacked to the brim—but they help me keep things out of sight so I can easily pick up the next creative project without worrying about the mess from the last one.
2. The Lack of Art in Your Home
What is there to inspire you in your home? If you have bare walls, and no statuary even, it could be the lack of art in your home that is killing your creativity. It is other people’s arts and crafts that inspire us to make our own.
The Fix: Buy some art from your friends. Display it proudly in your home. Allow it to inspire you.
3. The Lack of Creative Supplies
You can’t be creative if you don’t have any creative supplies around your home. You might not yet know what kind of creative endeavors you want to venture on, but you won’t do any of them if you don’t have supplies.
Some creative outlets are cheaper than others, so start with a budget. You can draw with any old pen and paper lying around your home. If you want to start knitting or painting, you’ll need supplies.
The Fix: Write down some of the creative things you’d like to do. Write down what supplies you’ll need to get started (not what you’ll need to create 100 things, but what you need to do one). Head to the craft store with this list—buy stuff for a few different types of creative projects so that you can try each out and figure out which one resonates with you the most.
You don't have to stick with only one creative thing—the more you do, the more inspired you'll be!
4. The People in Your Life
I have had amazing people in my life that have inspired me to be a creative soul, and I’ve had people in my life that wanted to suffocate my creativity (usually out of jealousy—they didn’t feel they had the talent and wanted to take away from mine).
Pay attention to the people in your life and how they respond to the things that make you happy. If they’re not happy for you when you’re happy, they may have a problem. Remember: You don’t have to allow anyone into your life that makes you feel bad about yourself. Even family is expendable when it comes to your own happiness.
The Fix: Nix the people that don’t believe in you. Ditch the people that bring you down and don’t encourage you. Fill your life with people that do encourage you and support you in your creative endeavors.
5. Your “Day” Job
Depending on what you do for a living, your day job could be killing your creativity. I write for a living, but not all of my writing is creative. I find that if I don’t take some time out of each day to do one creative thing, it’s hard for me to be creative when I need to be again.
The Fix: Don’t quit your day job, at least not until you have something to replace it. Instead, do what I do—do something creative every day, no matter how small. Keep a journal that you doodle in or write a poem or story in each day. Take a creative photo once a day. Do something that keeps that creative spark alive.
6. Depression and Anxiety
Depression and anxiety don’t just go away. You sometimes learn to live with them—you learn to shut them off from time to time (controlling them instead of them controlling you)—but they’re always there, just waiting to ruin the good things in your life.
When you’re depressed it can be difficult to even get out of bed. When you’re anxious, it can be hard to keep your mind focused on even one thing.
The Fix: Use your depression and anxiety to fuel your craft. When I am feeling anxious or depressed I write some of the best poetry I’ve ever written. Picking up my creative hobbies helps me through the rough spots.
7. YOU. You are killing your creativity.
Sometimes it’s your own fault. Take responsibility.
The Fix: Make time for your craft. Don’t allow all of the other things on this list to get in the way of your creativity. Remember: This is your life and you’re in charge.