Here are the top three creativity killers. Don’t let them stalk you and murder your writing project. If you can overcome these writing blocks, then you can create a book that will be a source of pride to you.
1. Creating/Criticizing at the Same Time
Creating is a right brain activity. Creativity, at its best, is allowing your imagination to soar, and capturing its flights of fancy. Being in a creative mode is like being in white light, because it is so pure and good and unaffected. The right side of the brain is a child at play.
Criticizing is a left brain function. The left part of our brains is all about analyzing and evaluating. The left brain is constantly looking for flaws in thinking of arguments that will make things right. The left side of the brain is a policeman on his beat.
Both left and right brain functions are important in the creative process. The problem arises when both parts of the brain are functioning simultaneously. You kill the creativity of the child within you if you constantly criticize your creative work. Writers need to let their creativity flow unabated, without the intervention of the inner policeman, until they have written what they want to say. Only after that should a writer switch to the left side of the brain to evaluate the work that has been done.
If you have a problem with criticizing your work as you create it, you may wish to train yourself to act differently. When you are in your creative mode, wear a funny hat. Never allow yourself to criticize your own work while you are wearing that hat. After you have completed many pages of writing, remove the funny hat and put on a more serious one. You are only allowed to criticize your work when you are wearing the serious chapeau.
You will kill your creativity if you try to simultaneously create and criticize your own work. Both creativity and criticism have their place, but never try to do them at the same time.
Insecurity raises its ugly head in many ways in the writing process. It may spring from lack of confidence, fear of failure the sense of being overwhelmed. Virtually all writers share feelings of insecurity, but the big question is how to overcome them.
The first way to approach the problem of insecurity is to determine what is causing it. Is it something from childhood? Is it something in your present environment? Inevitably, insecurities come from how we feel about ourselves. The problem is that we usually don’t know why we feel that way. Insecurities are not something that are concrete in our consciousness, but rather are ghostly apparitions that shimmer in our minds and kill our creativity.
How can you determine what’s causing your insecurity? There are many ways. I believe that most people already know what causes them, but they are unwilling to admit it to themselves.
Other people may need to take a break from their writing, take a walk in the woods or along the beach, and examine the roots of their insecurities. Thinking about this matter outside of your usual work space can lead to a revelation about both the cause and cure of your insecurities.
Of course, there is also the option of getting professional help. If you are debilitated by your insecurities, then you may wish to explore the issue with a psychologist.
At its root, insecurity comes from fear of the unknown. They might be triggered by life experiences or other things, but none of us would be insecure if we had confidence about the future. Since that’s not always possible, we need some other way to face the future without being insecure about it. What is the ultimate antidote to insecurity? When all else fails, bravery is the only answer.
3. Discouragement from Others
Nothing crushes the spirit of a creative person more than discouragement from significant others. If some stranger tells you you’re crazy to pursue your writing project, you can generally just slough it off. But if a parent, sibling, spouse or close friend tells you that you are wasting your time, it has greater impact. That can kill your creativity.
What is the antidote to discouragement from others? It is simply having the quiet conviction that you are going to see your writing project through, no matter what. You don’t try to argue with naysayers, you just put them out of your mind.
You are not alone when it comes to hearing discouraging words. Here are some of my favorites:
“Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?” –H. M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927
“I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.” –Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943
“The concept is interesting… but to earn better than a ‘C,’ the idea must be feasible.” –Yale professor on conceptual paper that became FedEx.
Truly creative people turn a deaf ear to their critics. You need to do that too. Don’t let anyone hold your creativity hostage. Free yourself from the top three killers of creativity.