Creative Constipation

We’re told over and over that life is all about balance. That idea is true in just about every aspect of life, from work & play to nutrition and even to our brain activity.

When I was younger, I definitely considered myself a Right-Brain person: Creative, intuitive, imaginative, and emotional. I was a sensitive kid in many ways. I loved to write, draw, color, and play all sorts of games of imagination with the neighborhood kids.

Now in my… *cough* middle age *cough* …I find myself to be far more Left-Brained: Analytical, detail-oriented, rational/logical, and planned.

But recently at a chiropractic adjustment, my chiropractor said, “Ooh! You aren’t using your creativity nearly enough! You need to be more creative in your daily life.”

I immediately scoffed. What was he talking about? At the time, I was rehearsing a Broadway Revue, singing, dancing, and acting my guts out. I told him so and his response was, “No. That’s not being creative. That’s performing someone else’s creativity at the instruction of yet another person’s creativity. You need to create. There’s a difference.”

I sat with that for a moment and thought back on how creative I used to be and realized he was right. What was worse was that once I tried to put pen to paper, I quickly discovered a greater problem: I was creatively constipated.

As with any other muscle, our brain requires exercise. The longer we go without giving an area a workout, the weaker and more fatigued it becomes. Additionally, the more we over-exercise an area of the brain, the more stuck in that channel we get.

It was high time I return to more of my Right-Brained self to bring back some balance to The Force, so to speak. But how, when everything just seemed to be a big blank? I had a couple of big-picture creative ideas, but the details were all missing.

For example, I thought I would write a children’s book. Further, I thought I would illustrate it myself. But what would it be about? For what age group? How would I print it? Who would read it?

There goes that over-worked, analytical Left Brain kicking into high gear again! 😡

So instead, I won’t think of any of that. I will just sit with the blank until some spark appears. And it will!

But how can one get the stopped-up flow of creativity going? I don’t think there’s a suppository for that, nor would I want there to be. 😳

Here are some of my tools to unblock creativity. I find that you either have to jog the Right Brain or quiet the Left Brain.

Listen to Instrumental Music

I have always found that my creativity is at its best with a low, instrumental track playing in the background somewhere. My go-tos are typically movie soundtracks by some of my favorite film composers. Here are just a few of my favorites:

John Williams Conducts John Williams: The Star Wars Trilogy
Favorite Track: 5. “Yoda’s Theme”


Titanic (Music from the Motion Picture)
Favorite Track: 3. “Southampton”


Edward Scissorhands (Music From the Motion Picture)
Favorite Track: 7. “Ice Dance”

Meditate

I could write an entire post about the Calm app. Perhaps I will soon.

Prior to discovering this app, I never found value in meditation, probably because I couldn’t figure out how to effectively do it. My mind was far too busy for that nonsense.

With the guided meditations in this app, I was finally able and I found the benefit in calming my mind, particularly that darn noisy Left Brain that’s constantly analyzing everything.

There are plenty of free features, but there is a more robust offering in the paid subscription.

Sketch

Sketching just exercises the creativity and gets everything flowing. Sketch anything, everything, and nothing. Don’t approach it with a plan (Left Brain), just go! Scribble even.

This can certainly be done with traditional media, but for those in the digital realm, Adobe has put out some pretty incredible iPad apps that utilize the Apple Pencil in a very real way.

I prefer Adobe Illustrator Draw for sketching.


Please share any of your tips & tricks for unclogging your creativity in the comments. It’s always great to have extra tools!

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