Tips To Get Over a Creative Block
Posted on July 28, 2021
Sola Salon Studios
“Inspiration may be a form of superconsciousness, or perhaps of subconsciousness -- wouldn't know. But I am sure it is the antithesis of self-consciousness.” - Aaron Copland
Do you find yourself wanting to uplevel your craft, offer something new, or produce content, but feel stuck or don’t know where to start? As a beauty professional, you are an artist, subject to the same creative blocks and slumps that infamously plague writers, performers, musicians, fine artists and creators of all kinds.
What is a creative block?
Creative blocks are barriers to inspiration that get in the way of accessing your inner creativity. Creative blocks can last anywhere from hours to years. The ideas don’t seem to be coming, but you are not happy moving in place either. The time has come to uplevel, expand, create - you can feel the momentum - if only you can get over the creative block. Often this can become a self-defeating cycle, where creative people will actually beat themselves up for their slump, driving the creative block further into the psyche and cementing it into the brain.
Perhaps you have been meaning to try a new hairstyle or finally get your photography posted on Instagram. Maybe you have dreamt of hosting a Clubhouse talk, creating video footage of your work, or mastering a new balayage technique. You may get excited at the idea, but do not know where to start. Or maybe you dive right in and find yourself stuck along the way.
Whatever your situation, we want to help pull yourself out of creative ruts faster with these tried and true ways that artists have relied on to move past creative blocks. Next time you are in a rut, try one of these remedies to recover your creative spirit:
Rest and Relaxation
"What?! R&R at a time like this?!" Yes. It seems counterintuitive, but often when we are most busy, stressed or blocked is when we need a breather the most. When you are feeling blocked, try laying down, meditating, going for a walk or even just taking a few deep breaths to get out of your head and back into your body. Relieve some of the pressure that you are putting on yourself and give your creative spirit room to breathe.
Some good signals that it is time to take a break include bodily aches and pains, anger, bitterness, frustration or anxiety. Remember that you need to be in a nourished state for your creativity to flourish to best serve your clientele. Treat your artistic self to a little rest and relaxation before burnout to keep your creative juices flowing. Ditch the guilt or shame around taking time for yourself and remember that a rejuvenated creative is unstoppable.
Write It Out
Stuck up in your head? Write it out! Julia Cameron, author of “The Artist’s Way,” recommends a daily practice that she calls the “morning pages” for all artists and creatives. Morning pages have become quite popular amongst creatives, from Solapreneurs to celebrities, who all claim that it is the absolute key to unlocking higher creativity and removing creative blocks.
Cameron describes, “the morning pages are three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream of consciousness… moving the hand across the page and writing down whatever comes to mind. Nothing is too petty, too silly, too stupid, or too weird to be included… Although occasionally colorful, the morning pages are often negative, frequently fragmented, often self-pitying, repetitive, stilted or babyish, angry or bland -- even silly sounding. Good! All that angry, whiny, petty stuff that you write down in the morning stands between you and your creativity.”
Cameron considers the morning pages “the primary tool of creative recovery,” because “as creatives, we tend to criticize ourselves mercilessly.” In the process of writing out three full pages every morning, you can get that negative, critical or mean voice out of our head and onto paper to see it and challenge it for what it truly is.
Cameron recommends allowing your stream of consciousness to spill onto the paper, but before the end of the writing session, challenge any negative self-talk by writing its opposite. So for example, if you write, “I am not talented enough to produce video content for social media,” follow it, either immediately or at the end of your morning pages, with “I am talented in my craft and will produce video content to inspire others.”
It is essential to remember that the negative voice inside of your head is not telling the truth. Write it down to recognize and challenge it as many times as you need to deprogram the stories holding you back from flourishing in your creativity. If there is a stream of negativity that simply will not stop, write each statement side by side with its opposite until you have trained your brain to instantaneously jump to a positive correction of negative self-talk. This can be difficult at first, but stick with it - it gets easier!
If you can stick with writing the morning pages as a daily practice, the writing becomes easier and more free-flowing, and you begin to feel more connected to your creativity and positive in your inner voice. In writing your thoughts daily, you get to know your inner voice, establishing greater intimacy with your inner artist and a closer connection to your creative power.
At some point in your career, you may hit a creative block that is actually solved through further advancing your craft via educational experiences, advanced certifications or workshops. As a creative, is essential to expand your creative horizons in order to unlock greater levels of mastery. You must provide yourself with the tools, skills and resources that you need to unlock creative expansion.
It is helpful to find experts and industry leaders that inspire your creativity to train and certify with. Continual improvement of your craft will build you a creative and fulfilling career in the beauty industry, where your creative spirit can continue to evolve.
As a Sola professional, you have access to an entire library of educational tutorials, webinars and podcast episodes from the beauty industry’s leading experts. Download the Sola Pro App, and go to the Education section. Click on “Videos” and “Tools & Resources” to find hundreds of educational videos.
The bombardment of digital media can often numb us to our own creative inspiration, saturating the brain instead of leaving room for the imagination to soar. Find a happy medium - a balance between staying inspired by peers and filling a creative void with others’ work. A digital detox where you stay off of screens (or at least off of TV, social media and mindless internet browsing) for 3-7 days can reset the brain for the better. Without so much inflow, you become more available to a greater outflow. A digital detox gives your natural creativity time and space to flourish without comparison or outside distractions drawing from your creative flow.
Occasionally it is helpful to look to others for creative inspiration, like on social media or at educational events. However, sometimes creative blocks can be experienced as jealousy or even envy at another’s success. If you find yourself feeling bitter, jealous or frustrated, it is time to take a step back, name those feelings for what they are and drop the Instagram scroll. Think about the traits, skills or experience of that person that you would like to embody, and come up with ways to better yourself and your business to embody traits that you so admire (and used to covet). Now, put the phone down and give the comparisons a rest for a few days, maybe even a few weeks.
Do Something That You Love
When you have tried everything and still cannot move past a creative block - stop trying - and go do something that you love. Experiencing flow state can get your mind into a better space that is more receptive and open to creativity and inspiration.
Some ideas include:
- Listen to music
- Be in nature
- Go on vacation
- Practice yoga
- Attend a class or workshop
- Attend a performance
- Host friends for a meal
- Visit a museum
- Play an instrument
Remember that above all else, you need to be nice to yourself! Keep that inner voice positive and your creative spirit nourished. When we impose “shoulds” onto ourselves, that is a form of self-judgment. To say that we “should” be doing something is to say that we should be another way other than as we are. Learn to acknowledge your creative blocks and accept them for what they are. Take steps to nurture and inspire yourself, and then let it go. Once you have forgotten all about the block plaguing you, your creativity will come rushing back in no time.
Blog photo: @unityhairco