Creativity is more than just the spark of a new idea or a lightning bolt of inspiration. A commitment to creative thinking requires hard work and dedication. That’s why so many successful creative experts recommend having a creative routine to keep your mind active and your imaginative juices constantly flowing.
There are a ton of different factors that can get in the way of creativity. They’re not always completely preventable, but there are ways that you can try to evade creative barriers that may get in your way. If you’re not sure what factors may be negatively impacting your creativity, keep reading. We’ve compiled some of the top creativity killers and, more importantly, how to avoid them.
Not Setting Clear Boundaries
One of the biggest barriers to committing to any task successfully and productively is not setting clear boundaries. This factor can be particularly important when it comes to creativity. To maintain a creative life, you need to set clear boundaries around the space you make for your creativity. Block out this time as seriously and definitively as you would a doctor’s appointment or a conference call for work. Don’t be afraid to let your partner, roommate, or other friends and family know that your creativity is a priority that needs to be respected.
Judgment and Criticism
Two of the most powerful enemies of creativity are judgment and criticism. Creativity is a highly personal form of self-expression. Whether you have a tendency to be overly judgmental and critical of yourself, or whether you have people in your life who tend to be judgmental or critical of your creative pursuits, these factors are two of the most common creativity killers. The moment a judgmental or critical voice creeps in as you’re in the midst of your creative practice, your creative flow will stop right in its tracks. The next time a judgmental or critical notion infringes on your creative process, try releasing it by writing it down and crumpling into a ball or tearing it up and throwing it away.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep is one of the most critical components to living your life to the fullest. When you’re well-rested, your mood is boosted, you’re more focused, and you’re more creative. Making sleep a priority is one of the best ways to realize your fullest potential creatively. If you feel like your creativity hasn’t been at its peak, check in with your nightly routine. You could even start tracking your hourly sleep each night to make sure you’re getting the recommended range.
Environment and Isolation
Earlier we discussed the idea of setting boundaries to help avoid a creative block, but that doesn’t mean your creative practice has to take place in isolation. Having the right environment to cultivate and stimulate your creativity is key to the creative process. In turn, having the wrong environment or isolating your creative practice completely from the rest of your life can be creativity killers. Make it a priority to discover the type of creative environment that best suits you, and make it a part of your creative routine.
It’s true that a healthy level of competition can drive or fuel you no matter what endeavor you’re pursuing. However, when it comes to creativity, it’s not a competition. Remember, creativity is a highly individualized form of self-expression that’s completely subjective. Competing with someone else’s creativity is like comparing apples and oranges. Sure, creativity is creativity just like apples and oranges are both fruits but don’t be fooled by thinking a competitive mentality will fuel your creativity. In fact, it could inhibit it.
Fear and Self-Doubt
Fear and self-doubt are two of the other most powerful adversaries of creativity. Because creativity is so acutely personal, it’s easy to doubt yourself or develop fears around your creative pursuits. Not everyone, even some of your closest friends and family, will understand your creativity. You have to know that’s okay. Your unique creativity isn’t meant to be accessible to everyone. If you’re struggling with feelings of fear and self-doubt in your creative practice, try integrating an affirming ritual into your creative routine. Before starting your creative process, do something that boosts your confidence – go for an invigorating run or jam out to your favorite playlist.
Lack of Routine
Before diving into the list of creativity killers, we discussed a bit about the importance of having a creative routine. That’s because a lack of routine in your creative process can hinder your ability to realize your full creative potential. Creativity isn’t a magical, ah-ha moment. It requires you to get into a specific headspace to tap into your creativity and get into a creative rhythm. Having a creative routine, even if that means simply setting aside one Saturday each month to immerse yourself in your creative practice, is essential to having a fruitful creative process.
Quality over Quantity
This last potential creativity killer may seem counterintuitive at first. Typically, you think of quality over quantity as being positive. It’s often used in reference to situations like quality friendships over quantity of friends. However, when it comes to creativity, quality over quantity can be negative. If you focus solely on quality in your creative practice, you can start to develop a perfectionist mentality. This mode of thinking can hold you back from pursuing a creative idea that may seem impractical or not fully developed. But creativity is about trial and error, making mistakes, and discovery. This is where quantity comes in as a constructive approach to creativity. Give yourself permission to at least try any creative notion that comes to mind and explore every possibility in your creative practice.
Start Realizing Your Full Creative Potential
Your creativity is such a valuable gift that deserves to be cultivated. If you can identify with any of these factors that may be inhibiting your creativity, it’s time to make some changes in your creative practice. Once you recognize what’s killing your creativity, you can take measures to avoid or even eliminate the culprits and start realizing your full creative potential.
We want to hear what you’ve pinpointed as some of your top creativity killers and how you’re avoiding them in your creative practice. Leave us a message in the comments below. We can’t wait to learn how you’re stomping out creative barriers and boosting your creative energy.