7 Obstacles to Creativity

7 Obstacles to Creativity

coffee by the bed unsplashI’m working on a theory of holistic creativity based on a continuum of inspiration, action, and integration. (For some reason, when I say that out loud, it sounds a little like something from Back to the Future.)

See, I’ve been trying to figure out what holds me back sometimes from doing the creative work I say I want to do – why I get a completely brilliant idea in my head that is completely actionable, only to be ruminating on it a week later.

This past week, in fact, my utterly talented and uber supportive media-producing boyfriend and I were bouncing ideas back and forth about about how we can collaborate on a training for entrepreneurial creatives to learn how to produce their own video content with high production value that clearly and authentically expresses their unique point of view. It isn’t the first time we’ve had a thoroughly inspiring, highly energized discussion about it.

After about an hour, I said, “I feel like we always have all these great ideas and then we never do anything about them.”

He said, “It’s because we never write anything down!”

So this weekend, I wrote it all down (and drafted our class description.) Hooray!

I DO still think there’s more to it though than just writing it down, so I asked around my community of creative friends and colleagues and I’ve identified…

7 Obstacles to Creativity

1. Procrastination.

Deadlines exist for a reason and I know I am constantly doing things at the last minute when I have one and often not doing them at all (or at least not finishing them) when I don’t! I have read that procrastination often stems from perfectionistic tendencies. When we really care about doing something and doing it well (or — ok — perfectly), we can become paralyzed by fear of an inability to do the project justice.

2. I feel stuck, uninspired.

I know I’ve got this one bad when I find myself watching whole seasons of House Hunters International on Netflix! In his book, The War of Art, Steven Pressfield talks about the ubiquitous force that can keep us from our creative destiny called… resistance. He says it is our duty to fight against it. Another form of un-inspiration may actually be what we frequently think of as “writer’s block,” which can come about when we haven’t been doing enough to consciously fill our own creative well.

3. Overwhelm.

Have you ever felt like the more you get done, the longer your to-do list gets? Someone once told me, “You should never aspire to get to the end of your to-do list because if you get everything done, there’s nothing left to do but die!” Maybe a little extreme… but you get what I mean. Overwhelm can leave us floundering in the “I don’t know where to start!” dilemma and has been known to cause flash flurries of suddenly urgent housecleaning in my apartment.

4. Distraction.

True or false: The #1 reason people sign up for my Meditation classes is because they want to feel calmer.


The #1 reason people sign up for my Meditation classes is because they want to learn how to focus. We have so much stimulation coming at us all the time, not to mention all the ideas my brain seems to muster up to throw at me all at once (after a long period of stuck/uninspired mode), it can be hard to sift through the noise to get to clarity of purpose.

5. Confidence.

Have you ever heard this from your internal critic, “I’ve failed so many times already. Why should this one be any different?”

Or how about, “Are you kidding? Like 25 other people are already doing exactly what you want to do only better. You can’t compete. Why bother?”

If we talked to our friends the way we sometimes talk to ourselves, we probably wouldn’t have very many friends, would we?

6. Lack of Resources.

How often have you heard (or said) the following:

a) “I don’t have time.”

b) “I can’t afford it.”

c) “I wish I had more energy.”

Time, money and energy are the currency of our life. They can be a gift, a tool, a drain or an excuse. How do you use yours? And how can we cultivate more of what we need?

7. Attachment to Old Ideas, Patterns & Habits.

Ooh. This is a tricky one that many of us don’t even realize we have. It’s the feeling of, “why do I feel like I just keep getting the same results over and over and over again?” Just recently, (Friday night at the Sat Nam Community Healing Circle, in fact), I had an intuitive card reading in which I was told that my past failures were not failures, but rather, stepping stones to success IF I can learn the lesson the Universe is dishing up to me over and over and over again until I get it. Okay, Universe, I’m ready to let go and learn what I need to learn to move to the next level!!!

So, what do we do when faced with one of these obstacles?

I’m going to explore solutions and resources more in depth in future posts (and podcast episodes!) But for now, let’s start with SELF-CARE!

Tennis verticalThis is the big package we must deliver daily to provide the nourishment necessary to generate the energy required to keep this evolutionary cycle of creativity going, growing and expanding. It can include eating healthy food, exercise, yoga, mediation practice, therapeutic bodywork, talking a long hot bath, quality time with a loved one, snuggling up with your favorite pet, a mug of tea and a really good book…

Oh, and it’s easy to forget, to de-priortize on your list, or to put off for another day. Just today, I felt guilty for going off to play tennis when I knew I had a newsletter to send (and a DIY Video class description to write.)

I reminded myself why it’s important:

a) Moves the body, increased heart rate, circulation

b) Oxygen to my brain

c) Increased prana (energy) flow

d) Social interaction

e) Focus and coordination

f) Infuses a sense of playfulness

g) Vitamin D from the SUN!

The list could get verrry long. So for now, I’ll leave you with two questions:

1) Which of these 7 Obstacles to Creativity is standing in your way right now?


2) What form of Self-Care will you nourish yourself with each day this week?