Don’t you just LOVE it when you are in flow? When you sit down to your computer, your canvas, or your instrument and it’s like a glorious river?
You may feel as though the muse is speaking through you, or some higher energy, or you’ve captured what Elizabeth Gilbert calls “Big Magic”.
The words, notes, images and steps are just bursting forward with abundance. And I imagine you feel SUPER confident about yourself in these moments.
But what about the moments when your inspiration feels dry as a desert? What about when you are just staring at a blank screen and all you feel is anxious?
It’s been termed many things, like writer’s block, creative block, just BLOCKED! And it can feel so frustrating and really drain your confidence. The river runs dry and you find yourself in doubt, yearning for those easy days.
To get back into flow and reclaim your confidence, the answer lies in what you do BEFORE you start to create. The real magic actually occurs in setting up the right foundation for your creativity. And that foundation is space.
Too often, we rush into our creative time. We come to our screen or creative space with all the anxiety and worries of our lives. The fight you had with your loved one? It’s still brewing and causing your throat to close. The news story you just read? It’s playing over and over in your head, constricting your mind and causing it to race.
In essence, you are not present for your creative time. You are still in the past, or worrying about the future. And flow only happens here and now. So, to come present, you need to create space BEFORE you sit down to create. The set up is actually the most crucial part of your ability to be in flow. Creativity is not something to be controlled or micro-managed. When you approach your creative time this way, you are only constricting the energy that is so necessary for the ideas, words, and images to spring forth.
I’m going to share an example from my life and then I will give you some simple tools you can start using today to reclaim your confidence around your creative time.
I spent the last five months writing the first draft of my debut book. It’s been a joy to finally put down in words what has been alive in me for 8 years. As I shared with many people that I was writing my book, several said, “Oh! Do you need help writing it? I know someone!” and I found it fascinating, as I wasn’t having any issues writing. I didn’t experience any writer’s block. In fact, the very concept felt foreign. And as synchronicity would have it, during the summer I had several clients who were experiencing a lot of writer’s block. So, it became a great opportunity for me to really look at what I was actually doing that was allowing my time in front of my computer to be so effective and joyful.
Before writing, which I would do in the morning because that is when I have my best energy, I always did two things: I would meditate and then do Qi Gong. My brain seems to come alive with a very strong and sometimes very anxious energy in the morning, so sitting on my cushion and placing all my energy on my breath allows me to quiet my racing mind and create space where before it felt like a whirlwind. Then the Qi Gong literally moves any stagnant energy in my body. I find myself yawning as energy starts to flow, again creating space where there were blocks. Then, with my smoothie in hand, I come to my computer and am relaxed and in my body.
I trust what is coming forward in my words, and spend the time translating what is actually alive in me.
All because I created space before I write.
There’s a lot of toxic messaging out there around the creative process, trying to put it into a box and control it. Structure is vital for the successful completion of any process you do, but you need to actually be present for it. I set aside three mornings per week to write over the past five months, and that was something I showed up for, but I made sure I was showing up present and in my body. I learned very quickly in my younger career that if I showed up frantic and distracted, my writing always suffered. I suffered the most, because I would spend hours deleting and second guessing what I was writing, and was just feeding my inner critic that loved to say, “this isn’t good enough.”
Space allows you to come back into your body, to actually hear and feel what your inspiration is saying, and most of all, for you to feel ease in the process. After all, you do this work because you love it, right? So you can think of creating space as giving love to your creativity.
Love to your confidence.
A few things you can try to create space before you begin your creative time may be:
* 10 deep belly breaths
* yoga or some slow meditative movement practice
* taking a walk outside with no devices
* self massage or self Reiki
And this can be short. You can give yourself 10 minutes, but my invitation is that you check in with what you actually NEED. This isn’t about doing what someone else does, but finding the rhythm and loving foundation that works for you. I do have a longer morning routine, but that is where I am now and what I find I need. That may change, and in fact WILL, as my needs change, so allow this to be fluid.
We find ourselves in a global situation that is not getting any easier, and laying these boundaries of space around your creative time is vitally important. You can think of it as giving actual life TO your confidence. You are breathing sweet breath into your being, because it is your being and nothing else that physically manifests your work.
At the end of the day, you are the only one in your body and the only one who knows what does work, so let this be an exploration. Let it be a practice, and see how you feel.
Create space before you create, and watch your confidence return.
It’s all there within. Let it breathe, so you can share your unique voice and create the impact you desire.