"It's As Easy As..." Three Magical Steps to Beat the Blocks

Writers' block, boredom, lack of motivation, simply burning out...I've been there.

And after years of sporadically wandering the desert at the whims of my capricious inner voices, I’ve learned how to magic those dreadful dry periods into times of great creative renaissance, juicy self-discovery, and creative redirection and joy.

Let me share a story with you, and three small and easy steps you can take to avoid ever feeling blocked again.

My Story               

Three years ago, before the publication of my second full length poetry collection, I fell into a slump and stopped writing altogether. Completely burned out, dried up, done. I panicked at first. I felt like my creativity had withered and blown away, never to return. I was in a desert with no map and no water. I bet you know the one I mean. It’s the one we all whisper about and tiptoe around, fearfully. The one we drive ourselves all the harder to avoid. “Two hours at it today” “One poem every day” “Ten pages done before I sleep tonight”

Here’s what I know: flogging yourself harder to work better, faster, more may work in the short term, but in the long term? It’s a recipe for disaster. Because it is at heart unsustainable. And besides, who wants to be flogging themselves like that all the time? (A little flogging around the edges might be fun, sure…but not all the time. No one likes that.)

Three years later, I see that that period of my life was also AT THE SAME TIME a time of 1) returning to a love of dance and becoming a certified Qoya dance instructor; 2) discovering Kaizen-Muse creativity coaching and getting my master certification 3) starting my own business as Odonata Creative 4) experiencing relationships that changed my life and my self-understanding completely and utterly.

I wouldn’t trade those three years of blank pages and silent keyboards for anything. I’m who I am now because of that gift of time.

But that’s all hindsight. I know how scary it is when we don't feel like we're making "progress." or when the wells have dried up and our path is truly disappeared in front of us. After flailing around in my own confusion, now I see that that can actually be a time of huge inspiration and re-calibration, when we relax and play with it. And that is my mission at Odonata Creative. To help women (and men) find time and space to discover their own creative audacity and juicy joy, and to encourage them along the way.

So how does it work? How do we turn panic, despair, boredom and burnout into wonder, joy and creative inspiration? Let me give you a shortcut so you don’t have to take three years on your own to answer that question. Here are the first steps, no matter how big or small the block you are in:

1.    Stop fighting it.

 Image credit: Markos Mant

Image credit: Markos Mant

Open to embrace the fact of your creative slump. So you’ve stopped doing your thing. Don’t panic. Accept. Breathe into it. Feel your feelings. Acknowledge your fears and frustrations. Sit with them a while. They might have something to tell you.

2.    Pay attention. 

Notice where you are and what’s around you. How do you feel, paused at this moment? Check in with your body. Are you holding stress or tension anywhere? Can you release that, even just a little bit? What do you see, hear, feel? What smells and tastes are available to you? What information is your body sending you, now that you have time to pay attention to it?

3.    Ask a small question

…and don’t force an answer. Some questions to get you started: What would be fun for me? What have I never tried that I would like to try now? What did I used to love that I forgot about? What one small step might I take in that direction that feels possible? Just live with the questions and let the answers come when they will…in an hour, or a week, or later. The soul has its own timeline.

And there you have it. This is apprentice level creative magic, first steps towards discovering and living your own creative adventure. They will work for you time and time again, I promise. Just those three steps will be enough to take you on all kinds of wild and juicy paths you never could have foreseen.

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    Pause.
    Pay attention. 
    Ask a question.

    It’s that simple to get started. And of course there’s more, so much more possible. Odonata Creative offers classes, both on demand and in real time as well as community groups and 1:1 coaching and advising. Stay awhile. Check the place out. 

     

    Sarah SadieComment