Blogging & Writing · DIY and crafts · Inspiration

How I Stifled my own Creativity

One of my few artistic creations this month - a seahorse drawn in chalk pastels

If I have learned anything this month, it’s this:

You can’t rush creativity.

This month, my personal challenge was to put aside some time each day to get creative. I wanted to encourage myself to get back into art and to try out some new DIY projects. However, despite sounding like a fun way to spend time, I made art into a frustrating activity that had to be completed at the end of long work days and on weekends. Creativity became the challenge.

Essentially I had stifled my own creativity. But at least I’ll take away some realizations. For one, creativity isn’t something you can plan. At the beginning of the month I complied a delightfully long list of potential projects – lists being my personal favorite inspirational tool. Unfortunately, this list stood as a sort of insurmountable mountain of tasks. With the sunlight dwindling,  snow storms, and -30 degree weather, I didn’t feel like working on projects when I could curl up with a good book (the Hunger Games), enjoy a hot bath, or spend time with friends. How could I possibly be inspired to start the longest list of tasks ever?

The second thing that I cam to realize was the variety of different projects that could count (even loosely) as art. I could dance to music, bake cupcakes, doodle on my computer, and even day dream – I mean those count as art, right? In fact, the work I do as a salesgirl, arranging sweaters on a table, or as a research assistant, creating graphs with just the right level of contrasting colors, these are artistic tasks too. At least in the sense that not everyone’s final product will be visually appealing.

There is art and creativity in everything we do.

The third thing I learned… Well I would like to say that it was to relax and let art happen. But it obviously isn’t that (yet?). I was so upset about my lack of follow-through on my art projects this month that I couldn’t think of anything to write last week. I felt so much pressure to live up to my challenge that I stifled my own creativity. And a positive feedback cycle ensued – the more I worried, the more stressed out I became about my challenge, the less I could accomplish. Perfect. I can see now that I just need to step back from life and stop stressing the little things.

So what about the rest of the month?

I’ve decided to just relax. To stop thinking so much about every little thing that I could/should/would be doing if… well you get the picture. I’ll leave myself free to enjoy art if and when I want to. And blog about other stuff in the meantime.

Have you every over-thought a personal challenge? Have you ever stood in the way of your own success? I’m pretty sure it happens to all of us from time to time.



4 thoughts on “How I Stifled my own Creativity

  1. i’ve been surfing from severe “artist block.” i used to love to create as a child. i could sit there with a box of crayons and paper and draw for hours on end. i miss it dearly. but every time i try to sit down and create art nowadays i just stare blankly at the white empty space. it’s almost as if i’m afraid it won’t be good enough so why bother… i think it stems from some really bad experiences i went through in high school (long time ago!) that i just haven’t been able to shrug off. stupid teacher. that said though, you’re right – you can’t force creativity. you just have to wait until it comes to you and makes you tingle until you get it out. :) good luck and enjoy those liberating moments!

  2. Yeah, my creativity month has been very up and down too. I think my problem has been similar in the overwhelmingness of too many options, although I haven’t done a list. I was wondering if making a list and goals might have made the month more ordered and helped me achieve more. I was surprised how hard it’s been! I think it’s all the decisions :) what to try next, what colour to make it, which materials to use…

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