9 Tips To Get Back Into Creative Flow
Have you been feeling unsatisfied with your life lately, as if you’ve been living it by default, going through the motions every day but not feeling any spark of joy or passion as you do it? The reason for this may be that you’re no longer flowing creatively. In this post, I will be exploring what that means, and how to get back into creative flow. If you’re struggling with writer’s block or any other creative blockage, this post is for you, so keep on reading!
What is creative flow? To me, the idea behind the term “creative” means to create my life as I want it to be, which incidentally happens to be through my creative work (mainly writing books, but also creating courses and other products, and on occasion, illustrating). Consequently, flowing creatively means to have a free, uninterrupted, and powerful stream of creation. It means to do what you do and not even feel taxed by it in any way, or blocked while doing it.
Sometimes, however, blockages do emerge, especially when you’re dealing with major changes or other stressful events (cough cough, #2020). I picture these blockages as trees and other debris falling across a river, obstructing or blocking its flow. They make creative tasks much more tedious and forced, if not completely impossible.
The good news is, it is possible to clear these creative blockages and get back into flow. As someone who creates for a living and who deals with creative blockages very frequently, I’m happy to share with you my nine tips to help you flow again:
1. Move your body.
This is my most effective tip to remove creative blockages, because exercise gives you an endorphins boosts (and endorphins make you happy, and happy people don’t kill their husbands are more creative!). It also moves the energy within you, shaking things up and shattering energetic blockages. Case in point: this past winter, I was feeling very stuck and blocked in my work. One day, the weather was a little warmer, so I took a short walk with my dog to a house I dreamt of buying. I felt my creative juices begin to flow, and when I came home, I grabbed a pen and paper and outlined eight blog posts, including this one! Whether your activity of choice is walking, running, yoga, dancing or anything else, give it a try when you are stuck, and notice how you feel afterward!
2. Take time for yourself.
The Hermit tarot card reminds us that spending quality time alone is one of the ultimate self-care tools available for us. Sometimes, what we need is to get away from our everyday lives so that we can tune into our inner wisdom and knowledge and receive guidance from within. I like to take time for myself in nature, either in a park or by the ocean. I regularly take anywhere between a few hours to a few days to ground, center, and reconnect with myself, and these breaks always help me get back into flow.
Remember the analogy I used earlier with the river being blocked by trees and other debris? Clutter, be it physical, emotional, or digital, has the same effect on our creative flow. So if you’re looking to un-stuck yourself, look around you and identify what you can clear. The other day, for instance, my girlfriend reminded me to declutter my desk drawers, closet, and handbag. But every once in a while, I make some time to reorganize the files, folders, and apps on my computer and phone. And let’s not forget about emotional baggage – anywhere from unhealthy attachments to beliefs that do not serve us. While this may take longer to clear, it is important to regularly do the work and maintain it, so we can get back into a state of flow.
4. Straighten up your space.
As I mentioned in my previous point, it is very difficult for energy to flow when there’s clutter. This may remind you of college/grad school memes about the urge to clean your space hours before a paper is due, but when you think of it, it makes sense. I personally cannot work or properly function in a dirty, cluttered space, when there are dirty dishes piled in the sink and laundry scattered all over (even when I’m not working at home, knowing it’s messy stresses me out!). So even when I’m working on a deadline, I take time to clean, straighten up, and make my house smell amazing – it feels so good and rewarding afterwards that I often finish my work tasks faster.
Journaling is one of my favorite activities when I’m feeling creatively stuck. Not only it takes off a certain amount of pressure, since I know this writing will not be shared publicly, but it also helps me gain introspection. More often than not, my thoughts flow out of me and I uncover something that gives me insight into what is blocking me creatively or otherwise. I also love projective journaling (also known as future scripting), which, in short, is when you write about the life you want in the present tense, as if it’s already happening. This not only helps unblock yourself creatively by visualizing your potential, but is also a very effective manifestation tool!
6. Connect with loved ones.
The energy of love is a very powerful block-remover. So tap into it when you feel stuck. Have a cuddle session with your partner and/or pets. Do something fun with your kids (or other people’s kids you’re close to), like going to a park, playing together, or crafting something. Write a letter to someone dear to you. Call a relative who’s far away (or, you know, in quarantine). Giving love and receiving love boosts your feel-good hormones and creates a channel through which creative energy can flow again.
7. Pamper yourself.
If you’re struggling to flow creatively, it could be because you are not feeling like the best version of yourself. So just like you would straighten up your space, consider polishing your appearance. If you’re working from home, wear something comfortable but that doesn’t make you feel frumpy, and take a little bit of time to groom so that you can feel confident. Personally, I don’t always wear make-up, but I like to make sure that my face and lips are moisturized, and my eyebrows are shaped properly (with my Lebanese DNA, if I let things get out of hand, I end up like Groucho Marx!). I also like to have nail polish on, and wear my everyday jewelry cause why not! When I know I look great, I feel more confident, and like the best version of myself. So doing this definitely helps me flow creatively!
8. Do something just for fun.
I know, I know. Sometimes, when you’re on a deadline, it may sound counterproductive to stop and do something unrelated to your work, for fun. But the thing is, if you’re creatively blocked, you’re not doing much anyways, so you might as well take a break and do something just for the sake of sparking joy into your heart. For me, those things include reading fiction, re-watching my favorite TV shows (#SlibbsForever), baking, painting with watercolors, or even playing a game on my phone (my current “addiction” is Project Makeover). I feel guilty at first, and try not to listen to that reproachful inner voice telling me that I should be working instead. But I push through, and that jolt of joy is what I need to feel reconnected to my creative work, and flow again.
9. Let it go.
The worst way to make something happen is to obsess over it. You can’t force something out of you if it isn’t ready, and if the environment for it to come out is not right. Sometimes, even when you try all the methods listed above, there’s one last thing that you need to do: let it go. Don’t shroud something you love with the energy of pressure and desperation. Stop what you’re doing, take a step back, say an affirmation, prayer or blessing, and meditate. Trust that you are safe, you are supported, and you will come back to it when you are in a better state of mind.
And voilà! I hope that you have enjoyed this post and that these tips are helpful to you. Please don’t hesitate to leave a comment if you have any more questions, and share with me what you do to get back into creative flow!