7 Reminders for When You’re Creatively Stuck— or in Despair.

3 minute read

1. Risk Taking Looks Different for Everyone.

Sometimes risk-taking looks like blowing off the dust from your sketchbook, flipping to a fresh page and drawing a line. Baby steps matter. Writing 1 page a day yields a novel-length piece in a year. So don’t psyche yourself out by trying to do too much.

2. Compare = Despair

You know how when you get a good idea, you start googling to see if someone else has done it? Don’t do that! Obviously, do your research if your idea requires a tremendous amount of time or monetary investment. But blog posts, essays, paintings…these types of inspiration belong to YOU the moment you get the idea. So honor your idea and leave Google alone (at least until you’ve banged out the first 2 drafts of your work!)! Along the same line: don’t stare at other people’s accomplishments for too long. Often, instead of inspiring you to action, this could shift you into discouragement or land you into comparison zone, which is not an inspired place to be. You and your life are singular and stunning, so don’t try to compare!

3. Talk with Your Deeper Power Every Day.

Some people call it “higher power” – but I call it “deeper power” — it feels more integrative to me that way. Once, I lived in an Bushwick underground music venue/ sober house with a woman whose higher power was Hedwig from Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Why not? Hedwig was a bombastic creative force of epic proportions. Hedwig wasn’t afraid of her/himself. Hedwig rocked the house. Hedwig didn’t give a shit. Your higher power may be nature. Or music. It doesn’t matter. Listening to Arcade Fire might make you feel like you’re tapping into some crazy, fecund, transformative, birthing energy. It’s because you are. Do more of that. Get lost in something other than yourself—but that brings your back to yourself. (Which is to say, don’t get lost in Jack Danniels).

4. Break Your Own Heart Open.

Not because you failed to do it…but because you did and it moved you to tears.Punch that poem out. Dance yourself dizzy. Paint until you pass out amongst your art. Break your own heart open so that all that beauty can fly out and visit people on their windowsills, singing them awake. Do it because someone else did and it woke you up to your own greatness. Do it because it’s what you were born for. Do it because it maximizes your experience of Life. Do it because the world needs artists to make life worth living.

5. Never Underestimate What You Are Doing, Even If Others Do.

Making art is souldier’s work. Writing a poem can be like going into battle.
Every time you make are, you are becoming more and more a warrior.
Not everyone will understand the amount of strength it takes, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Allowing the creative force to travel through you is scary shit. It can be the stuff of nightmares. Creating in a society that values money before meaning and profit before creativity means the road is rocky sometimes. But when you sink into the pleasure and pain of creating, you allow yourself satisfaction and fulfillment—sometimes beyond your wildest dreams.

6. You Are Not Alone.

Find community. Find your Kindred Spirits. They are out there. I promise.
And when you do, make sure you ask for help when you need it.

7. Most Importantly, You Are Here, Right Now.

The forces that had to converge to create this moment with you in it are unfathomable. I know that it sounds intensely woo, but we really are 93% stardust. Which means that when we make a wish on star, we’re really betting on ourselves—and trusting life will unfold with meaning and truth. In my experience, as long as we maintain presence, (aka, mindful of the very miracle of our existence) we can return to this profound feeling of gratitude and get back on track to creative living.