STOP Your Creativity Sucking Monsters!!

Have you ever heard of the creativity eating monsters?
They can be vicious, devilish creatures that enjoy eating away our energy and time. When they sneak up on us or come through wrecking terror through our creative space, they disrupt our creative journey.
What are these monsters?
There is the scraggly black monster of not enough sleep.
The matted blue monster of cleaning the house.
And it’s twin sister, with her crazy big eyes, of taking care of the children.
There are as many monsters as there are distractions in the world.
However, one of the sneakiest, sly monsters of all, is the monster of Avoidance.
This shadowy monster leads us down the path of looking and feeling productive: e-mails, bill paying, making dinner, cleaning up dinner, research….Ahhhh, yes, PRODUCTIVE, right?

Umm…no, not really.

Things are done that might have needed to be done, but did you do anything that moved you along your creative journey? Did you really need to do those things? We create the act of looking busy while not accomplishing our goals.
Each of us has obligations to attend to. The house needs to be cleaned, kids should (probably) be fed, laundry most likely will need to be done.
However, in each day, there is also five minutes that you can use, boldly, that will put you further along your path. It might surprise you. Once you find five, you can find ten, then maybe twenty to use your valuable creative energy.
Just five hundred words becomes a thousand.
Instead of a partial sketch, there is a whole one.

Please let me assure you, I have my monsters. My favorite one is “but my six year old needs (fill in the blank: food, to play at the park, a bath,). It doesn’t seem to matter but so often it seems to be right when I am ready to sit down to write or edit photo’s or make pendants. The truth is that there are many times I can delegate this responsibility, and I don’t. One of my goals for the summer is balance delegating to big sisters that can walk to the park and also spending time with him. It goes along with fits and starts but we’re getting there.

My other monster is sneaky, hiding behind my desire for fun.

She is the “let’s catch up” monster: “Do you want to get a coffee?”  “We haven’t talked in a while.” “Let’s catch up.”

Yeah, she is sneaky. Of course I want to chat and talk and drink coffee and hang out until 11 o’clock at night. Though, initially, nothing is wrong with this, and I often say yes when I know I have stuff to do. Sometimes, I am guilty of scheduling coffee or lunch dates right on top of each other. And if my monster and I do go out, well, then, there is the whole “not enough sleep” thing that happens. Learning to say no is not easy and I am working on it… EVERY DAY!
My most complicated one though, the one that comes to me as I am completing a project, is the “good enough” monster. I am sure you are familiar with this one and it’s siblings. This one that whispers, “Are you sure it’s good enough?” Sometimes taunting, “Who’s going to read that? like that?” or “Why would anyone?” This is a dark monster that starts out sounding like a decent editor in your head and becomes vicious if allowed. It’s deep voice resonates through all the places where self-doubt lies quietly and rallies all those doubts up into my conscious self, and suddenly, I am fearful, doubtful, and hesitant to put my work out into the world.

How do I put this spiteful creature in it’s place?
Some days are harder than others, my monsters and I wrestle for control, sometimes taking up half a valuable day. Eventually though, I win. I remember that it was worse always standing still and being afraid what what other people think. This keeps him quiet for a while. My little creature gets bored too, and hates standing still, so if I am moving forward, at least it has something to do.

Our monsters can get in the way. They can distract and mislead us and drain away our energy until we have none left to pursue our creative goals.

Here are FIVE ways to STOP those Creativity Sucking Monsters!

1) Make a list:  Give them names, faces even. Be aware of them. This way when the pop up you can see who is distracting you.

2) Try making friends with them: Let’s face it, they just want to be heard. You can do this using visualization or by writing in a journal. Start to understand what each one of them really wants.

3) Let them out to play: Sometimes, I plan a monster play day. I do ALL the things they want me to do in ONE day. That way if they are pestering I can tell them to just “wait until Saturday” or I can tell them, “Hey, you just got time out to play, go back inside.”

4) Move Along: If they have played, and if you have let them say what they needed, THEN politely tell them to move along. They had their turn. Now it’s yours.

As with many things, it’s easy to look at this list and think “I can do that.” Of course, you can. Absolutely! But if you can’t, then pull out  number five.

5) Recruit a monster slaying friend (or army, depending on the monster). We need monster slaying companions to go into our daily creative battles.  Find some good, supportive, sword wielding, and caring friends and have a monster slaying session!

Tell me about your Creativity Sucking Monsters.