I am a firm believer that every person is creative. It is a gift of God.
Problem is, you can experience a creative block. There are two types: (1) Long-term & (2) Short-term. Long term creative block traces back to the days of your youth. You have not experienced a creative breakthrough for such a extensive period that you can’t recall the last time you felt creative. Due to this prolonged period of creative silence, you no longer consider yourself a creative person. Short term starts happening in your adult years. As an adult, you’ve grown confident in your creative capacity. All of sudden, you somehow seem to lose it. It’s gone. It’s like someone flipped a switch. Luckily, it doesn’t last forever. Eventually, you find your way out of the dry spell.
It can be confusing which creative block you are experiencing. Your mind plays tricks on you. It may start out as short-term. If it lingers too long, the creative part of your brain goes into shock. You might call it “creative amnesia.” You forget all of the creative moments you’ve had. As a result, you self-diagnose as a non-creative person.
Either way, you can learn how to overcome a creative block. At least, I feel like I’m learning how to overcome it. A children’s book The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds offers an invaluable perspective.
The story begins with a student grumpily pouting at her school desk after art class lets out. She couldn’t come up with anything to draw. Her teacher takes a peak at the page, only to make a joke about “a polar bear in a snow storm.” Not amused, the student vehemently replies, “I just can’t draw!”
Having experienced such creative blocks before with other students, the teacher advises her to “just make a mark and see where it takes you.” The student obnoxiously makes a single dot on the page. She hands it to the teacher. The teacher’s response is to say, “sign it.”
The next week when the student walks into class, she finds her little dot framed and hanging above the teacher’s desk. Whether through embarrassment or a sense of challenge, I’m not sure, the student commits to making a better dot. She did. She made several other dots. It became her thing. She even made a dot in the negative space of other dots. She became so good at creating dots that the school made a special display for her at the art show.
The story ends with a little boy approaching the now famous art student with a comment, “I wish I could draw.” She encourages him to try. He replies, “I can’t draw a straight line with a ruler.” She hands him a blank piece of white paper and says, “show me.” He draws a squiggly line and hands it back. She says to him, “Please…sign it.”
Amazing story, right? If you haven’t picked up on it, here’s what I gain from it. You can overcome creative block by:
- Starting with what you can do and see where it takes you. Start with what you know, even if it doesn’t seem like much. It won’t seem so great at first. Build on it, play with it, re-imagine it, incubate it, combine it with other ideas, and let it take on a life of its own. God created you to be creative. You were born with a talent, a passion, an experience, a gift, a skill, or an intellect that can be only be expressed through your unique perspective.
- Claiming your creative gift. Put your name on it. Claim it as your own. Be proud of what you can do. God gave it to you. All you need to do is accept it.
- Finding a person who believes in you. It can be a teacher, a colleague, a mentor, a boss, a friend, or a family member. It is someone believes in your creative potential. You will know them by the way they encourage you to pursue your own creativity. God’s Spirit will bring these people into your life.
God created you to be creative. Blocks will come. You can overcome them. I am praying this gives you a good start.