If you haven’t been freely creative for a while, it can seem harder to get back into that flow with each passing day. In fact, you more than likely have started to wonder whether you’ll EVER create anything meaningful or worthwhile again.
When you find yourself in this kind of situation, the worst thing to do is take on loads of complex creative projects at once, struggle to make any progress with any of them, and end up even more stuck and frustrated than you were before.
Instead, here’s a 5 step approach to recovering from that crash in creative confidence:
- Recall past creative highs. We’ve all had past creative high points, however fleeting they may have been, or however long ago they feel. Spend time remembering some of yours; take yourself back into to the midst of these feelings of being highly creative, and proud of what you were creating. Concentrate on the detail. What was going on around you at the time? What were you seeing, hearing and feeling that all contributed to this creative flow?
- Believe your creativity is ready and waiting. After step 1, you’ll be more in touch again with how positive an experience creating can be for you. The next step is to believe that your creativity is ready and waiting to dance again, like a nervous teenage girl sitting on the sidelines at her prom night, desperate to be asked to take to the dance floor. You may not now create exactly what you created 5 or 10 years ago, but your creativity is ever present in some form -- you’ve just got to ask it and give it a chance.
- Start with small projects. To build your confidence, it’s far better to create a series of small projects to get you used to each stage of the creative process once more. Choose a project you can begin and finish in less than an hour, something you’ll enjoy, just to connect back with the enjoyment of creating again and seeing through a creative venture from initial idea to a point of completion. Then move on to another small project, building your confidence slowly and surely.
- A little each day. Just as important as picking small manageable projects is rediscovering regular creativity habits in terms of the time you commit to creating. To create at your most confident and free, you need to have regular creative “exercise”. And since we use a daily calendar, the best way to do this is create each day, around the same time. Build it into your routine like sleeping and eating. Prioritize and set aside specific time each day to create; don’t create only “when you have time”.
- Acknowledge your progress. All of the steps above would be virtually pointless if you never recognized the progress you were making and how your creative confidence was returning. Acknowledge your development by reviewing each month or so where you are, as well as making note of significant “creative landmarks” along the way. For example, “first poem I’ve written in 5 years”, “created for 7 days running”, “picked up a brush for the first time since I was in my 20s” and so on -- those significant steps that remind you you’re well on the way to a creative rewarding life.
Follow this plan and, step by step, you’ll feel your confidence in creating go from strength to strength.
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