Updated: May 25, 2022
Creative blocks and burnout are a far too common experience for creatives. As a community, we are approaching our work in a way that goes against how creativity operates - we’re scared to pause.
We fill empty spaces between work with more work, avoiding the uncertainty of not knowing what’s next. We fill each quiet moment with screen-time, avoiding the silence. We never stop to refuel so our cups eventually drain, resulting in us feeling uninspired and exhausted.
It’s understandable why we avoid pausing, it contradicts what we’re taught about working productively. As business owners who rely on their creativity, we must be dedicated to taking a different approach towards work to ensure our creative spark is sustained. To do this, we must embrace emptiness as an essential part of the creative process. Pausing is not lazy, it’s not a waste of time, it’s the ingredient we’re missing.
Emptiness is the place where ideas and inspiration exist before they come to us. And, by occupying the emptiness we allow them to arise. That’s why so many of our ideas come in the middle of the night or whilst we’re in the shower - it’s a rare moment when we become quiet enough for inspiration to bubble up.
By taking time to pause, we intentionally create fertile soil for our creative seeds to sprout. Worms and fungi nourish soil by breaking down matter, recycling nutrients and distributing them back into the earth. Without them, autumn leaves wouldn’t decompose and the plants that grow in spring wouldn’t benefit from their nutrients. We must give ourselves time to break down our experiences, integrate our lessons, allow the nutrients we’ve gained to settle and feed into the next season of growth.
This process is not instantly gratifying but the reward of sustained creativity is worth it. We must occupy the emptiness knowing that it is nourishing our creativity in ways that won’t be obvious straight away. As a creative community - let’s fill the empty spaces we’ve been avoiding with our presence, nurture our creativity by moving through seasons of action and rest, and in doing so surprise ourselves with what might take seed.
Unsure how to occupy the emptiness? Here are some suggestions:
Quiet nature walks
Baths / Showers
Enjoy a hot drink whilst gazing out the window
Embrace mindful moments