Some days, I’m full of energy and flow and work on my projects and start new projects and it’s all a swirl of pretty rainbow colors and music and light. Other days, I really want to work on a creative project, but I just can’t summon the energy to dive in. I usually eventually cut through the resistance, and these are the tricks that help me.
- Get your supplies out—or leave them out. I love to Bible journal and make cards, but there are gobs of supplies I use to do these activities, and sometimes, that’s the block. I decide I am just going to set up my supplies as if I were going to create, and then, once I’ve got my things out, I have the option of just leaving it until I am ready. Typically, getting my tools and paints and pencils just spurs me on to play a little and before I know it, I’ve started, and I am having fun.
- Do it badly—Sometimes, I just tell myself, it doesn’t have to be good. It can be rough. It can be an experiment. It’s okay to make an unexpected choice. It’s okay to paint a tree and have it look like a green-brown blob. On those days, I remind myself that any creative work is good progress and let go of the judgment.
- Do it for you—I find this idea freeing and a little rebellious. I get that if you want to make money, if you want fame, then yes, you probably are doing your art for others—for their response, their approval, and in hopes that they will like it. There may always be an element of that in our work even if we aren’t fully aware of it, but the at the heart, many of us would not create—if we didn’t enjoy it and find it satisfying. When I think about how much I enjoy painting, collaging, and writing creatively, I lose interest in whether or not it’s Good. I want to do it because it gives me pleasure.
- Happily, procrastinate—and sometimes, I trust that action will come, but first, I am going to watch a little more Netflix, or walk outside and check out the fall foliage, or feed the chickens bits of last week’s bread. Once this part of my creative process has had a chance to come full circle, I am ready do something more focused, active, and creative.
- Take a nap—Seriously. It makes sense—maybe I don’t have energy for me creative work because I don’t have energy. The smartest thing to do is not to power on, load up on caffeine and force yourself to work. Give yourself permission to rest. Take a short nap, or a long nap if you need one. Drink some water. If you’re hungry, have a snack. Once those basic needs are met, and I am well-rested, I am able to dive into a creative project with fresh energy and vision.
How do you get started on your creative work when you are experiencing resistance?