Radical Simplicity and a Beautiful, Messy Life

6 Reasons Why You Are Stuck Creatively. And How to Fix Them.

Haven't we all been there?  We know we need to create in order to be healthy and thrive.   Or maybe we need to create as part of our nine-to-five.  Or maybe we have a creative side hustle we are trying to grow into a profitable career.  But when we sit down behind the desk, or computer, or camera or easel, we go blank.  We are stuck.  And we desperately need to become unstuck.

Here are six reasons you may be stuck creatively, and how to overcome them.

1) Perfectionism. 

The Problem: Perfectionism and procrastination go hand in hand.  We feel like we can't do something perfectly right now, so we put it off until we can.  The problem is, we will never be in the perfect moment to create.

Maybe it's been a while since you've created anything and that adds to the pressure you feel.  Perhaps you feel as if the next thing you write or paint or do needs to be a masterpiece.  Or you create in spurts but then destroy it because it doesn't meet your standards. 

The Solution: The surest way to make sure that you never create that epic masterpiece is to stop creating.  All creatives have to create a lot of crap in order to get to the good stuff.  Every mediocre article, photo, painting, etc. that you create gets you one step closer to your masterpiece.

2) Lack of direction. 

The Problem: I went through this for a long while.  I once made a decent living writing about homemaking and family, but I don't want to do that anymore.   For a while I loved writing about faith and life but then I honestly didn't know for a while where my faith stood.  I felt stuck.  I knew I needed to be writing in order to feel whole, but I had no focus, no purpose, no direction. 

The solution: For me the answer was to write about where I was at.  I wrote lists of why I couldn't write.  I wrote about the frustration of not knowing what direction I was headed.  Whatever your creative outlet is, let out the frustration of not knowing.  A direction will form over time.

3) Lack of discipline.

The Problem: It is so easy to put our creative pursuits at the bottom of our to-do lists.  Especially if they aren't our primary sources of income. 

The solution: Anne Lamott says that the key to good writing is to get your butt in the chair everyday and pound out shitty first drafts. Sylvia Plath woke up at 5 am everyday to write.  Create a routine that makes time for your creative pursuit and then get your butt in place each and every day.

4) Exhaustion.

The problem: You can't pour from an empty cup.  Life, family, the nine-to-five hustle has you too spent to find the creative energy you long for. 

The solution: Everything is harder when you are tired.  Restructure your life to allow for 60 minutes of creativity a day during your most energized time of day.  Even if that means moving dinner an hour later or getting up an hour earlier. Make creativity a priority, instead of trying to squish it in when you're already spent.

5) Fear of success.  

The Problem: Creative Success doesn't match the narrative you have for yourself in your head.  You self sabotage because you cannot conceive of yourself as a creative entrepreneurial success.

The Solution: Slowly begin building a new narrative for yourself.  Write out some affirmations on sticky notes and stick them to your mirror so that you are faced with them each day.  When discouraged by past failures, say out loud "that was then, this is now."

6) Lack of authority or expertise.

The Problem:   You feel as if you have nothing valuable to say. You lack authority or expertise.  "Who am I to tell anybody anything?"  "What could I create that others would benefit from?"  "What could I paint that hasn't already been painted.?"

Or maybe you feel as if you need to read more books on writing before finally churning out that memoir, or take one more photography class before calling yourself a photographer.

The solution: Recognize your distinct view of the world.  You alone see the world from your eyes.  What you have to offer the world is a new perspective, the world through your eyes, expressed through the creative gifts you have. Great artists are not necessarily the ones who create with the most skill and finesse, bu the ones who invite us to see something we almost missed.

The common thread among these strategies is to keep pushing through.  The times that art doesn't come easily can be our most fruitful times as we persevere and create anyways. 

Friend, whatever is holding you back today, I wish you a creative and inspired day!

p.s. Like this post?  Sign up for my weekly newsletter, follow me on twitter or connect with me on facebook.  And thanks for reading, I'm honoured!


  1. I really appreciated this - well-written and insightful. <3 Thank-you!

  2. Yes ! I agree, thank you for taking the time to share your perspective.. I like the colors of your website as well :)

  3. These are all so true and just what I needed to read! I especially like how the main point here is to always push through despite being in a rut :)
    Great post!
    xx Kate | https://allthetrinkets.wordpress.com