I might have an inner itch to write some fiction. Or it might be a nudge to pick up a paintbrush. Or to pull out some crystals and beads and craft something, anything…
But I feel stalled.
Not stalled in the sense of feeling inertia.
It feels more like I’m restless.
My creativity feels restless.
The creativity is there (sometimes so close it’s just right-there) but I can’t seem to settle down, I can’t decide which project to work on, I can’t focus.
And then it’s as though I pace restlessly.
This pacing isn’t literally pacing a room, but it’s mental pacing.
My thoughts jump around as I wonder what creative project to do, or I distract myself online or on Netflix, or I tackle the laundry.
Does this ever happen to you?
This creative restless can actually be part of the creative process.
There are times, of course, when the restless feeling itself can become a way to distract yourself from creating. And there are times when the restless feeling is the signal that it’s time to stop mentally (or otherwise) pacing and get to work.
Being aware of exactly what the restlessness means – and when it might signal a shift needs to take place – is important… and the awareness comes the more you look at and understand your own process.
So how do you know the difference? And what can you do when you’re experiencing restless creativity?
Here are a few things to try…
Do an internal check-in with yourself. Is the restlessness really procrastination in disguise? Or is it part of your creative process that, in the big picture, moves you closer to creating what’s wanting to be birthed? Is there something that honestly needs to get taken care of (scheduling an appointment, dealing with a problematic situation, etc.) before you get to work on a creative project?
Get grounded. Take some time to ground yourself and ground your energy. Close your eyes and just breathe quietly for a few minutes. Go outside and touch the earth. Hold one or two grounding crystals (black tourmaline, smokey quartz, red jasper, garnet, and snowflake obsidian are a few). Ground and center your energy so that you feel less restless in general. And then see where your creative energy leads you.
Ask your body. If you’re trying to decide between one or more creative projects to work on, pick one of them and see how your body feels. Do you feel constricted inside, does your body feel pulled-in too much, does your heart sink a bit because you really wish you were working on “that other project over there”? If so, that can be a clue to devote your time and energy to one of the other creative ideas calling for your attention at this time. (But it’s also possible that the feeling could be a form of resistance instead of true guidance – so, again, awareness and honesty with yourself is key.)
Just start. Give yourself a mental push or physical shake, pick up your pen or paintbrush (or put fingers to the keyboard or sit down with crafting/creating supplies) and simply start doing something. You can tell yourself that you’ll this for for just 5 minutes – sometimes putting a (short) time limit on the activity can help your mind overcome the restlessness long enough to start… and then if you continue past that time, it’s icing on the cake! Sometimes starting can be the most difficult step when it comes to creating.
These are just a few things to try – the important thing is to find what works for you.