29 Jan 2013

The creativity thieves

There are several bad habits or factors we can develop in life that can block one's creativity. Apparently there are eight, but many of them are so similar and can be dealt with in the same way that I feel the authors of those lists were just looking to make them more easily digestible. Thankfully when you are part of a group like Storyslingers where you are surrounded by informed, understanding and supportive people you don’t have to concern yourself with outside discouragement (ignore everyone else) and you can gain a deal of confidence in yourself and what you are capable of.  So that’s two factors down, but there are a few things left however that we can all struggle with.

One of the first things I have always seen when looking up advice for breaking out of the creative rut is to separate the creating from the editing, or the evaluating, and to not fall into the trap of starting to edit yourself while you are still nourishing and nurturing your ideas. Doing this too soon and too often may stop you discovering a really good concept before it’s developed fully.
Which leads nicely to fear, I think. Having a fear of making mistakes, of failure, could stop you before you’ve even begun. Having a fear of needing to make sense of those ideas, having everything squared away and all the loose ends tied up, can be harmful to. Life doesn’t make sense, it’s uncomfortable and untidy at times so don’t dismiss an idea if it works but you don’t know why. Chaos can be your friend!
Analysis paralysis is another term I often come across when searching for guidance. While researching is important and necessary you can become stuck over-thinking facts and situations that, like gorging on a vast meal, you become stuffed and are unable to act on anything.
For me personally writing has always been my creative outlet, with no real ambition to take it further than to please myself, but I did go through an extended period of time when I just didn’t feel creative at all. What we are today is a result of everything that has come before and everything we have experienced in our lives good or bad has informed us as writers, as creators, and as human beings. I found myself in a place where I just couldn’t do it anymore because of very negative experiences, and sometimes the only thing you need to get yourself out of that rut is time.
Finally, following anyone’s (including “expert’s”) advice blindly is unwise. Listen to your intuition – everyone’s journey is different, which includes your own.


  1. Excellent post! I've printed it out and placed it close at hand to my writing desk so I can pep myself up again if I fall into a slump of self-loathing.

  2. I definitely agree with the points about premature editing and of not slavishly following expert advice. If something is good it will work even if it breaks the rules.