Stifling Creativity: Things We Should Stop Doing

Stifling Creativity: Things We Should Stop Doing

Creativity isn’t something artists should take lightly. We’d like to believe there is a never-ending flow of it – that it’s a faucet we can just turn on and off – and when the water isn’t flowing, there must be something wrong with us. But while creativity isn’t a faucet, there are things you can avoid doing that hinder the creative process. Protecting and nourishing your creative mind is essential for the best ideas and the most success.

Here are five things that are killing our creativity.

{My next blog post will include five more things that are killing our creativity. Make sure you follow my blog so you get the update when I get that post up!}

1. Self-Doubt: I know of nothing that can kill creativity faster than constantly entertaining negative thoughts about your work. Everyone has weaknesses. Everyone. Thinking upon your self-perceived weakness while attempting to create will result in frustration and an uninspired product. When you find yourself thinking “I’m not very good”, respond with “Perhaps I’m not yet where I want to be, but I will get better!”

InsteadFocus on achieving growth by working harder. Read more. Learn. Grow.Self-Doubt is the Anchor that Keeps our Ships from Sailing.


2. Comparing Yourself to Others: There will always be someone who you believe writes better, has more Twitter followers, has a better blog, sells more of their product, (insert your own sentiment here), but comparing yourself to other people is a waste of time that usually results in discouragement. Focus on your own journey. Compare yourself to the person who you were yesterday.

Instead – Let others inspire and motivate you. Appreciate their work. Learn from them.A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it It just blooms

3. Focusing on the negative: When you get feedback from a critique partner, editor, agent, or (insert your own), what do you focus on? People have the tendency to notice the negative more. Someone tells us five things they liked and one thing they didn’t, and we fixate on that one thing they said. AND THEY’RE OH SO WRONG!! … Even the most creative people in the world get criticized. Learn to glean the positive from feedback (tips for growth, recommendations for stronger work, etc.) and discard the rest from your memory.

Instead – Hang on to the positive, along with the things that will make you better. Forget the rest.

Wellness Activity – People tend to forget compliments faster than criticisms. Start a word document where you log any & all compliments or encouragements you get no matter how small. Read this right before you decide to work on something new.Keep Your Face to The Sunshine And You Will Never See the Shadow - Hellen Keller

4. Neglecting Our Body: When your body has to expend energy healing itself from lack of care/negligence (it sounds so negative, but we likely all do some of these things – poor eating, lack of exercise, poor sleep habits, substance abuse, etc.) you can’t expect to function in a way that is going to yield peak results. Most people don’t get much accomplished on a day when they’re sick, but a day when you’re feeling refreshed you suddenly can crank out better work. Be proactive in caring for your body and watch your creativity increase.

Instead – Exercise. Eat well. Get adequate sleep. Practice Wellness.Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live.

5. Not Practicing: Creativity doesn’t normally just appear from nothing.  Sure you might sometimes get that one awesome idea that came from nowhere, but sometimes you have to work with nothing. For the writer: If you want to write great scenes, schedule time in to write every day. Write when you don’t feel like it. Write when you’re not inspired.

Instead – Schedule in time to practice – everyday if possible.“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”

So those are my first five! My next blog post will include five more. Make sure you follow my blog, so you get the update when I get that post up.

Let’s Chat! – Do you notice any of these things stifling your creativity? Leave me a comment in the box below.

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18 thoughts on “Stifling Creativity: Things We Should Stop Doing

  1. Interesting post. For sure writing only when one is inspired is the best way to get… nowhere. Deliberate practice is key. As for self-doubt, some people I know are eaten away by self-doubt… yet they can be spectacularly creative. Probably sometimes what matters most is being able to take action despite your doubts.


    1. Yes! I love that – taking action despite your doubts. ❤ I honestly don't know of many writers who haven't experienced self-doubt in some form. I don't think experiencing it means you can't be creative, but it certainly can hold you back. I always think about that Stephen King story where he threw his beginning of CARRIE into the waste bin. Good thing he had an awesome wife who fished it out and encouraged him to continue. Thanks for adding your thoughts!


  2. I’m going to put this list in my bullet journal… there are so many times I’ve had self-doubt and thought I couldn’t do something because others are better. Great timing as I’ve been putting off writing my first novel, I’ve got all the excuses in the book, then today I opened a fortune cookie which said “Begin… the rest is easy” and now I’ve read your post it’s time I started that novel. The universe seems to be telling me to get on with it. Thank you

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a wonderful quote. I agree – go for it! There’s never been a better time to start your novel! I’d love to hear how it turns out for you. Thanks for sharing! ❤


  3. Excellent article. The attention to self and health is easily lost in the minutiae of day to day work and life. And these can have a direct impact on that spark of creativity we rely on. Thanks…


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