In a Creative Rut? Here's How to Get Unstuck

The most successful creatives across all industries will tell you that a creative rut is NOT an unique spot to find yourself in, whether you've been an artist for a day or a decade. For most people, creativity doesn't typically just "appear" out of thin air - it's the result of a process. It comes from asking and answering questions, trying new things, figuring out what works and what doesn't work, and paying close attention to how it feels in your heart. And it's not necessarily about productivity.

A painter who finishes 10 paintings a week can still feel "stuck" if the work doesn't feel right. A designer who used to be content with being solely enveloped in creating sewing patterns might look up one day and realize that making patterns isn't the only thing that makes him/her happy anymore.

That's me.

Growing up, I learned from my dad the value of "sticking it out" - staying committed to a job that was safe and secure. At the beginning of my career, designing patterns was one of my greatest joys and was what actually built me a massively thriving business that I got very comfortable with. The industry evolved (as they always will) and I found myself struggling, trying to do the same thing over and over to get the same results. My dad's and my ol' "sticking it out" trait was getting hit hard. I was stuck.

Later, I discovered that my being stuck was a wake up call to create my next wave of creativity and instigate a change that would make me most happy with the evolution of my sewing pattern business and the evolution of my passions.

Take A Step Back

Whenever things feel hard and /or my wheels keep spinning in the same direction, I can get frustrated, angry and impatient. That's my cue that an evolution is in order. It's time to get curious, to take stock of what I want, to get clarity from my heart on what direction to take.

What do I really want?
How do I want to feel?
Is this activity in service of my heart's vision?
How do I say no?
How do I let go?
From where do I pull the strength to move towards my new dream?

Asking these questions helped me identify what wasn't working for me.

Here's my list of what kept me stuck.

  1. I would run parts of my business the same old way, even when it became harder, more complicated and wasn't working anymore. I kept doing the same thing. I would, "just work harder".
  2. I would not amp up my daily creative happiness factor. I would ignore my heart work and do busy work and micromanage instead.
  3. I would get wrapped up in drama and upset when our finances were going up and down.

Dig Deeper

Cultivating the awareness and being willing to tell the truth to myself and others when I'm stuck, sets me free. That way, I can own the part of me that wants to stay small, evolve it and transform that energy into my good and for the good of others.

Listen To Your Dream

When you're willing to say what you want, identify what would make you most happy, proud, satisfied, what would make you feel the most excited, moved and inspired, then you can identify your own dream, vision and mission. Part of my dream - written down in a place I can see it, and revisit it often - is "to be a global ambassador of beauty", using raw materials to create beautiful work that makes people happy, and empowering creatives everywhere to do the same. That vision inspires me, it's what makes me who I am. It's my unique voice, my flag to fly and follow.

The voice of my dream says "you CAN do it, this is your creative path, you have the ability to create so much beauty in the world, where there's a will there's a way!" THIS is the voice I want to listen to, but I can't hear it if I'm paying attention to the negative inner dialogue working away in my head undermining my ability to believe in myself.

Align The Process

Here's how I re-aligned the aforementioned 'stuck' parts and got back on track:

  1. Using my dream as my template I made an inspired list of things I could do for my business and creative happiness. This opened me up to all kinds of options and energy!
  2. I made a list of daily heart priorities (in service of my dream) and scheduled and balanced them with my other priorities, which made me more conscious of the value of my time, and empowered me to delegate and "say no" confidently.
  3. I reimagined the change as a "falling into opportunity" vs falling apart. This freed me up to all kinds of creative solutions, my inspirational ideas soared and our cash flow followed suit!

It's A Work In Progress

To honor your creative voice - and to keep that voice strong and powerful - you have to embrace the idea that we never stop evolving and the voice of our dream changes as we change and grow.

When I embraced "change" as my compass and I used my dream as my filter, my vision came into focus and I was able to identify which actions to take and which to put an end to. I was able to say no to some things and big yeses to others. Taking one step at a time in service of my dream has got me thinking bigger, making bolder moves, and feeling more inspired with every step and every evolution.

I'm now coming from a place of believing that the patterns are in a new evolution and that they indeed can and will bring in more abundance than I could ever imagine because of the space I now hold around them. I stopped this manifesting mojo when I tried to control or do my patterns the same old way, listening to the fear and negative thinking. Now because of who I'm being I get to love them differently. They are now part of a bigger evolution that's going on for me that includes the patterns but redefines them as part of a mix of many things that light me up and inspire me and give me a way to share and give back to others.

I'm learning that it's how I feel and who I'm being in each moment in service of my dreams that really matters and that's what informs my happiness and the quality of my life and experiences. That, to me, is the most beautiful thing any artist can create.

XO Amy