You’ll also have of experienced times when the flow is just not happening, no matter how many coffees or brainstorming sessions you have, time races by without anything forming, doubt is in the forefront of your mind and you feel pretty unconfident with the way things are going.
As a creative you accept this is as the norm, it’s just how things roll, the ebb and flow of a creative life. You surf like the best on the crest of your flow states and cautiously tread water during your blocks, trying your best not to go under before the next ride comes along.
What’s interesting to observe is that your experience of block and flow seems to have very little to do with you. It’s quite random and uncontrollable, with no logical pattern or sequence. A block can come at anytime, straight out of the blue and wedge an unwelcome spanner in the creative works.
Creative blocks come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they last only a few moments, a morning, a day. But sometimes they hang around, they set up home in your psyche and send you on an unpleasant downward spiral.
A lingering creative block is like a degenerative (yet curable) disease. When it starts, it has a subtle, almost unnoticeable impact on your experience. You can shrug it off and carry on with your day. But as time goes on, and the deadlines loom and the pitches are lost, it slowly eats away at your certainty, your productivity and most importantly, your creative capacity. It breeds tension, frustration and escalating self-doubt. It hacks away at your very sense of self and it hurts.
It’s not just your careers on the line, it’s your sanity.
We’re all familiar with the archetypal rise and fall of a creative genius, that tortured individual who bared their creative soul and suffered the mental consequences of falling short, of not having their ideas realised, of losing it.
Over the centuries there are countless examples of artists, writers and musicians whose creative fires have burned so brightly, then for some unknown reason became blocked, disillusioned and lost, spiralling down the path of creative diminishment and ending up a shadow of their former brilliant selves.
We’ve been led to believe it is possible to loose our creativity. It must be, right? Just look at history, just look at the stories, just look at our peers who have left the industry because ‘they can’t hack it any more’, ‘they’re all dried up’, ‘they’ve lost it’.
This universal notion lurks in the back of every creative mind. It makes the most hardened professional shudder at the mere possibility that one day it could actually happen to them.
But what if this is all wrong? What if this whole cataclysmic scenario is just a by-product of not understanding how the block and flow cycle actually works. What if we’ve been innocently mislead all this time and there’s a simple explanation that can help stay in the flow?
To begin the journey of understanding what really gets in the way of your creativity, what really blocks you and what keeps you in the flow, you first need to understanding what’s going on in your head.