We’ve all been there; sitting at our desks, laptop open, writing tunes pumping, coffee (or tea) in hand, wondering what to say
Working towards your bigger vision will ask you to do things in a different way to how you’ve done them before.
You’ll have to uplevel your thoughts, your mindset and your actions, for sure. But more than that, you’ll have to know how to clear away your blocks so that uplevelling is made easier, possible, and more spacious.
If you ever feel blocked when you sit down to create, you’re not alone.
Here are 5 of the most common creative blocks I see, both with my own mindset and work flow, and that of my clients.
Block #1: You feel overwhelmed
Overwhelm is one of the biggest blocks my clients talk to me about. Where to start, and then… how to keep going?
Here’s what to do:
1. Brain dump everything out
Letting this be your first step can create so much space and freedom in your mind and body. Just leave whatever you were doing for a moment, grab a notebook and pen, and get everything out. I find when you allow time to do this, with no preconceived ideas about what you’ll write, so much can flow out that you weren’t even expecting.
You might find that it’s not really your current goal or project that’s overwhelming you, but the rather, something that’s on your mind relating to an entirely different area of your life. Or sometimes it’s a combination of lots of tiny things, adding up to feel mountainous. Whatever you write, you’ll be able to then stand back and get a different perspective.
Sometimes you’ll write so much that it’ll be like picking up the flow of inspiration again. And sometimes you’ll write so little that you’ll realise your mind/ego is making a huge deal out of nothing, usually out of fear. It’s a simple exercise that can invite in so much clarity.
Bonus points for grabbing two different coloured highlighters, and highlighting all the ‘important’ things in one colour, then all the ‘urgent’ things another colour. The important things are the things that feel big, the things that actually move your projects and work forwards. The urgent things feel racey and might even get your heart rate up! But they are the ‘busy work’… and they make you feel like you’re doing all of the things, but never moving ahead.
So start where it feels big, and do the important work first.
2. Ask the Universe to take the load off
This is an exercise I learnt from Esther and Abraham Hicks. It’s so easy, and actually lots of fun. Like the exercise above, grab a piece of paper and a pen. Draw two columns; in one column, write For Me at the top, and then write For the Universe at the top of the second column.
Now spend a few moments connecting with your body through taking some deep, calming, cleansing breaths. Set an intention for the purpose of this exercise, if you wish, e.g. to gain clarity, release overwhelm, let go of fear… or simply trust the exercise will bring you what you need.
Then if you’ve just done the brain dumping exercise you could use some of the notes you’ve written down, otherwise just start from scratch, write down everything that’s weighing you down that feels like it can only be completed by you. This could be life admin tasks, work projects, conversations you need to have, or just whatever is on your mind that you feel needs to be ticked off.
Take a breath, and now move to the For the Universe column. In this column, write down what you know you can give up to the Universe. This could be things you’re waiting to fall into place, answers you’re seeking about specific questions or problems, big goals that you’re working on but that feel far away, or anything that isn’t actually totally up to you.
This exercise is really freeing on a mental/emotional level. By doing this, you’re showing yourself real evidence that what you’re working towards isn’t only up to you.
And while this exercise might not seem to be specifically related to creativity, it actually is; it’s helping you to see not only what is up to you (the actions only you can take), but that in order to create (and receive) anything in our lives, we have to be open to receiving support from something higher than ourselves (trusting in guidance to help us get to where we want to be, or somewhere better).
Asking the Universe for help, and opening up to receive this beautiful support, will guide your creativity, your inspiration, and your flow. It’s so powerful!
3. And finally, go for a walk
Another super simple but powerful exercise is… exercise! Moving your body in any way (it doesn’t have to be walking; you choose what feels good for you) will move energy, call in flow, connect you with your breath, and help settle jittery-excited-anxious feelings, to help you feel grounded, and create from that space.
A quick walk around the block can sometimes be enough for clarity to land, helping to bring your ideas to life.
Block #2: You have no time
We never think we have enough time for the big things; the big goals, the big dreams, the big vision we’re holding in our sights.
We forget that to go big, it’s important to start small. And starting small is made possible when you simply make time to start, and then keep going.
Think you have no time to create? Here’s what to do:
1. Bend time
No one has enough time. I’m serious, no one has enough time. We all have to make time, or in other words bend time, to create the space we need in order to do what we most want to do. Ever not had enough time to watch your favourite show, but you made the time anyway? I know you might think you need a week in the mountains to write or create, but I promise you don’t. I wrote my first book, You Are Enough, in six weeks, by simply writing for an hour a day each morning. Yes, this was pre mum-life, but there is always a way to carve out a little bit of time, even if it doesn’t seem like it’ll be enough. Little steps can move you further than you think. And taking a small step is better than taking no steps at all.
It’s surprising how much you can get done when you give yourself just a bit of space in which to do it. Ask for help, hire some help, say no to one other thing, and see how you can bend time to get things done.
2. Block out time
One way to bend time is to block it out. Grab your calendar or diary, and mark out some time over the coming weeks. It doesn’t have to be the same time each day/week, and it doesn’t have to be hours long. Simply find some time, block it out, and when the time comes, honour yourself and sit down to do the work.
3. Do it differently
Think you need to sit down at your laptop to write? There are other ways to create.
You could record a voice note into your phone when inspiration hits, and then transcribe it yourself later (or send it off for transcription via an online service). You could tap away in the Notes section on your phone in between everything else you do all day, and email yourself your daily notes each evening, later compiling it together into a long post/chapter for your book.
Or you could look through old Instagram posts and compile those into a longer piece of work, pulling out some content to create journaling prompts, or a worksheet, or some other piece of work to accompany the main content.
There are lots of ways to create differently when you feel like you don’t have huge stretches of time. Find a new way to do what you most want to do.
Block #3: You feel insecure
Feeling insecure about your work isn’t easy. You might wonder what’s the point? Who wants to read what you have to write anyway? There are ways to clear this, and most of them revolve around self-love, self-compassion and forgiveness. (But you knew that already.)
Here’s what to do:
1. Speak to the wounded part of yourself
Sit with yourself. Take a breath, and just sit. Ask the wounded part of you what you most need to know about what you’re feeling, why you’re feeling it, what triggered this, and what do you need to do/think/say/release in order to heal and feel whole and full again?
Grab your journal and write this all out. You’ll probably see what’s triggering you quite quickly (or all in good time!). It’s something I say often: let the work become the work.
What does this mean?
When you let the work become the work, you let yourself be guided by what you’re deepening within yourself.
You let yourself share what you’re moving through, or what you’ve already moved within yourself. You show others that it’s possible to create more space and depth within.
By speaking to the wounded part of yourself, you’ll uncover some of your own struggles, and you’ll be able to start clearing/healing those with compassion, forgiveness, or whatever else you need. And then you might see how you can use what you’ve discovered in the process, to help and support those you most wish to serve.
You’ll be deepening what you’re embodying in order to share this with the world, and so looking within while you do so, will support you to support others going through the same thing, all in good time. Go easy on yourself, be gentle, take your time, but do look within. It’ll support your creative process more than you know.
2. Connect with your heart
Place your hand on your heart (and perhaps the other hand on your belly), and breathe. Connecting with your heart by connecting with your breath, will also support your connection to earth, and to source energy. And when you’re connected to earth and source, to breath and heart, your can create anything and everything that needs to come through you.
3. Write for someone you love
When I started writing blog posts and newsletters back in 2011, I had no idea what to say, or who I was writing for. I loved writing, but I’d finding myself sitting in front of my laptop, almost frozen.
Who were these people about to read my words? Um, actually, was anyone even going to read them?
I knew something had to change if I was going to start enjoying this process, so I began to write my blog posts and newsletters to one of my closest girlfriends who was living overseas. I would direct all my content at her, as if I was simply writing her an email catching her up on everything that was going on in my life. Of course, the content remained the same on the surface (for instance, the ‘letter’ might have been about herbs to take during winter, because I was working solely as a naturopath at the time), but the feel of the work completely changed.
All of a sudden, I didn’t feel scared when I sat down to write. The process started to take on a sacred feel; here I was, not only connecting with the energy of my friend, but with my work, my purpose, my vision, and my muse.
And when I hit ‘publish’ or ‘send’, it felt so good. I felt so in flow, and my confidence in my own voice started to soar. I had put a face to my words, and I felt it smiling back as I wrote. In my mind, I was writing for someone who loved me, someone I trusted and who trusted me in return, and it made all the difference. It’s how I started to write with heart, instead of fear.
Block #4: You feel uninspired
Feeling uninspired can feel so draining. I get it, I’ve been there!
Here’s what to do:
1. Take a break
There’s no rush, is there? I know you probably think you have to do it all now, but you don’t. Sometimes you don’t know what to say simply because you haven’t fully processed or integrated what you’re trying to share. Sometimes you need more time, more space, more understanding, before you can share this with the world. Honour that.
Sometimes not doing the work, is the best way to get your work started.
Take all the pressure off your work, your vision, your big-picture plans, and most importantly… yourself. Let your ideas and your work schedule take a back seat for a minute. Go do something completely different; some cooking, gardening, dancing, yoga, or anything else that has nothing to do with your work. Start a ‘home’ project instead, like finally printing all those photos and putting them in an album, cleaning out the pantry, or hanging the art that’s been sitting behind the couch for weeks.
Trust that when the time is right, you’ll know exactly what you need to say.
I’m reminded of a quote by the famous novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald: ‘You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.’
And sometimes, you just need a break before you have something to say.
2. Honour the season you’re in
Just moved house? Just had a baby? Got a toddler at your feet? Doing renovations? Just healing from a breakup/surgery/intense period of life? Um, maybe it’s not the ideal time to be investing your thoughts and energy into creating something new, for someone else.
Have a look at the season of your life. Maybe this is actually the most perfect, most ideal time for you to rest, to heal, to integrate, to recalibrate, and to settle your energy.
It’s okay if now isn’t the time.
It’s okay if now is the time to simply journal for yourself, and to not share this with anyone else. Even if insights and revelations and healing words flow to you; it’s okay to keep them for yourself.
There’s no rush to create.
Honour the season you’re in, because it’ll pass, and one day (perhaps much sooner than you realise) you’ll be ready to create again. (And then you’ll wonder why you were in such a hurry to begin.)
3. Ask the Universe for help
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked the Universe (or my guides/angels) for help with writing specific chapters of my books. Sometimes I’ll be very specific: Hey! Um, I’m really struggling with chapter 14. *Face palm!* Please can you help me with it, and then let me know when it’s done? Thank you!
And then hours, days, weeks or sometimes months later… chapter 14 will drop into my mind, heart and body. Racing to my laptop, it’ll all start to flow.
Ask the Universe (or a higher/deeper) power to guide your creative process, trust in this support, and then get back to cooking dinner.
The work will come when you’re ready to receive it.
Block #5: You feel small
Feeling small stops us from being creative because our ego gets in the way, spreading lies and fear about what everyone else is doing, and why you’ll never be able to do this too.
But, you know it’s not true, right? Here are some simple ways to step up and out, so you can feel connected, powerful and free.
Here’s what to do:
1. Connect with your community
Feeling small can often happen in isolation. It can happen when you’ve been staring at the same screen for hours, days or weeks, willing it to show you your progress. It can happen when you feel left behind, or disconnected. And it can happen when you put other people on pedestals, telling yourself that everyone else is doing so much better than you are.
One way to clear this away, is to connect with your community. That might be online, or in person. It might be friends or family, clients or social media friends. It might be through posting a new video that’s sharing a helpful tip, tool or process, a post that’s an invitation to start a conversation, or messaging/emailing people to say hi. It could be a long coffee date in the park with a girlfriend, or even a surprise gift emailed or posted to a client.
Do something that feels expansive, generous and giving. Beam some love out, and let yourself receive it in return. You are not alone, and you don’t have to do this by yourself.
When you connect with your community, you’ll allow yourself to feel seen, supported, and held.
And that’s a beautiful recipe for creativity.
2. Sit in nature
Sitting in, and with, nature helps remind that you are small, and that’s okay! You are a part of the whole, so let yourself be that; a part of it. You don’t have to be everything, have it all, or be it all.
You simply have to play your part; and that’s the part that only you can play.
Now, open your notebook or laptop, and create from this space. From the space of knowing the truth; you don’t have to hold the world up. You don’t have to do it all. You just have to do what only you can do, and that’s more than enough.
3. Remind yourself of your power
Ask yourself: What would it feel like for me to feel big, or to ‘play bigger’? Sometimes we’re invited to play bigger by external forces but we haven’t yet worked out what that could look or feel like in our own creativity, work, businesses or lives. Sometimes playing bigger isn’t as ‘big’ as you think it is. It could be a small change, a little tweak, a new mindset or an energetic shift that makes everything feel different, more spacious, and more powerful.
By connecting with your vision, and what with a sense of ‘bigness’ means to you, you’ll reconnect with—and remind yourself of—your own innate power.
And that combo—connection and power—can be all you need to create your best work.
And one of the best tips of all…
Just sit down, and write.
You might be thinking Sure Cass, but um, the whole point of me reading this post is because I can’t write anything, and I hear you… but also, you can.
I don’t really believe in writer’s block (sorry, not sorry!), but I do believe in the perception of it.
I believe we create other blocks for ourselves, and call them ‘writer’s block’ because sometimes that’s easier than understanding what the blocks really are, and what they’re stopping us from creating. It’s easier than doing the work to clear away the blocks, and it’s definitely easier than sitting down to write.
However, sometimes just sitting down and starting (even if you think you have nothing to say), is all you need to get the words flowing.
Once you clear away your blocks, and sit down to create, you’re uplevelling, right? And what does it mean for you to uplevel? What will you gain in your life but also, what will you lose? Sometimes it’s the subconscious fear of what we’ll lose that keeps us blocked (even if what we’ll gain will take us higher in our lives than we ever thought possible).
Clearing your blocks is one thing, and then integrating your creative uplevelling with clarity, purpose and heart is the next step. It’s about knowing you’re worthy of being seen and heard, knowing there’s space for you too, and trusting you’re so ready and able to do this beautiful work.
If you’re ready to start clearing away creative blocks, aligning with your purpose and doing the (deep) work that only you can do, join me in Love What You Create.
I can’t wait to create with you.