I find a lot of joy in the creative aspects of my life. Whether it be sermon and blog writing, graphic design, ideas for ministry, or even knitting. As a result of the joyous creativity in my life there are often times I find myself stuck. That creativity block is the worst.
For example, stuck trying to put words to the keyboard as I type a blog post or a sermon. Or stuck thinking about how to make everything I need in this flyer to fit while not looking like an insane person made it. Sometimes it’s the getting stuck in ideas for the next adult education class or ministry project. And truthfully I haven’t knit anything other than a blanket in years, and haven’t even bothered with patterns.
Now everyone deals with the creativity block differently, but here’s what works for me. Usually. Sometimes.
Step 1: Recognize it’s there
Maybe it’s obvious, but sometimes I find myself grumpily eating rice krispy treats as I write notes or lists of ideas, not even realizing that I’ve come across a creativity block. Rather than ignoring the block and just hoping something will figure itself out, recognizing it is key. Once I recognize that I’m going through a block, I can understand my grumpiness and impatience, and move on to step two.
Step 2: Take a breath
It seems easy enough. But especially if I’m worried about a deadline or feeling really frustrated, I forget to breathe like a normal human. Once I recognize that I’m dealing with a block, I take a breath. Sometimes multiple. And let that breath calm the stress I’ve been building.
Step 3: Pray
After recognizing, breathing, and still feeling like my brain is empty, it’s time to pull out the big guns. For sermon writing, I usually pray often as part of my preparations. Sometimes I need the extra prayer half way through or when I’ve thrown out an early draft.
But even with blog writing, with graphic design. Even with knitting, sometimes a little prayer can go a long way. The prayer is often different and dependent on what I’m doing. More often than not, it gives me some time to re-take my first steps. Lifting up the recognition of my issue to God. Breathing through my stress as I ask God for guidance, for the Holy Spirit, or for a knitting pattern that I’m physically capable of.
And when all else fails:
Step 4: Take a break
Of course this is not my ideal end to a block, but often a necessary one. Sometimes taking a break, whether it be for five minutes, a few hours, or even a day, creates the space I need. That space is occasionally what the first three steps were already telling me I needed.
In the midst of a creativity block, sometimes our brains and our hearts just need some time to rest. And then we can come back refreshed and ready to start anew. And that’s okay.
What are some ways you deal with creativity blocks?
Do you have different steps you take?
Do you ever bring God into your conversations around creativity and wonder how God might be active in your work?