What happens when you don’t feel creative anymore? We started our businesses as creative entrepreneurs out of passion, but adding in the pressures that come along with business sucks the creativity out of it. In today’s episode, I’m sharing two actions you can take to ensure you’re bringing back creativity in your business.
The Shoot It Straight Podcast is brought to you by Sabrina Gebhardt, photographer and educator. Join us each week as we discuss what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur while balancing entrepreneurship and motherhood. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in, yet willing to talk about the hard stuff too, Shoot It Straight Podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot is straight.
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This episode is brought to you by my Sustainability Guide Freebie, where I’m walking you through 10 steps to a sustainable business. Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in business for years, this guide will help you review the different facets of your business and clarify whether or not you’re set up for long-term sustainable success.
Why You’re Not Feeling Creative Anymore
As a creative entrepreneur, it feels like creativity should be constantly flowing through our blood. So why does it feel like creating out of passion can be so hard sometimes?
The simple answer is that we have way too much going on in our brain and we’re under too much pressure.
When a creative entrepreneur starts to feel this way, it’s almost like the world starts to look very gray and monochromatic. Everything loses its color and its sparkle, we get super bored with our work. Maybe you’re feeling this way:
- You’re not passionate anymore.
- Creating feels like a chore.
- You don’t like your business or work anymore.
- You resent having to work with your clients.
- You have to force yourself to do the work that you used to be really excited about.
- You start dreaming about shutting it all down.
All creatives feel that way from time to time, but you have to find a way to pull yourself out of that funk.
Bringing Back Creativity
Think back to before you got paid to do the work you’re doing—back when you were passionate about your hobby. Remember why you started to do it in the first place. Then one day you started a business to make money off of the hobby you enjoyed doing.
The difference is when you move from having just a passionate hobby that you’re good at, into being a business owner who is striving for success, you create a to-do list that adds pressure to your creative passion. There are so many things that come into play with this added pressure.
All of a sudden, you have to understand business, numbers, how to sell a product or service, marketing, websites, social media, and so much more. Plus, you have your life that you’re trying to balance as well. This is when creativity starts to get sucked away bit by bit—simply put, you’re doing too much.
Creativity comes when you don’t have the pressures of business and life weighing on you, but how can you get that back? Overstimulated, over-programmed, and overwhelmed adults cannot create freely. You need time and space to let creativity thrive.
Two Steps to Bring Back Creativity:
- Pull back on your social media consumption.
- Intentionally build in white space into your calendar.
By opening yourself to the freedom to thrive, your creativity will begin to flow back into your life again. Know that you’re not alone. Put these steps into action to bring back your creativity.
Review the Show Notes:
Why You’re Not Feeling Creative (0:47)
Bringing Back Creativity (2:42)
Two Steps to Bring Back Creativity (6:23)
Review the Transcript:
Today we’re going to talk about something that all creative entrepreneurs struggle with from time to time. What happens when you don’t feel creative anymore?
Welcome to the shoot it straight podcast. I’m your host, Sabrina Gebhardt. Here I will share an honest take on what it’s like to be a female creative entrepreneur. while balancing business, motherhood and life, myself, along with my guests will get vulnerable, through honest conversations and relatable stories because we’re willing to go there. If you’re trying to find balance in this exciting place you’re in yet willing to talk about the hard stuff to the shoot it straight podcast is here to share practical and tangible takeaways to help you shoot it straight.
It feels like creativity should be constantly flowing through our blood. After all, we call ourselves creative entrepreneurs. So why does it feel like creating out of passion can be so hard? Sometimes, the answer is simple. We have way too much going on in our lives and in our brain. Simply put, our brain is overstimulated all the time. And it does not have the space nor the capacity to think creatively, we are under too much pressure. When a creative entrepreneur starts to feel this way, it’s almost like the world starts to look very gray and Monochromatic. Everything loses its color and its sparkle, we get super bored with our work. We’re not passionate anymore. Creating feels like a chore.
Many times when this happens, we don’t like our business anymore. It starts to feel like something that we don’t love. Maybe you start to resent having to work with your clients or create new projects. Maybe you have to force yourself to sit down and do the work that you used to be really excited about. Maybe you start thinking that I don’t want to do this anymore, or start dreaming about shutting it all down. All of those things are normal. All creatives feel that way from time to time. But it’s really important to understand how to pull yourself out of that funk. Of course, you don’t want to be stuck there forever thinking back to when you created just for fun, before you became an entrepreneur and started profiting off of your passion. It was fun. It was exciting. You couldn’t wait to carve out time to work on your favorite thing. So when you think back to that, when you get back to the heart of things, how do you get back to loving to create again, how do you get back to having creative ideas and being creatively inspired.
Of course, today, I’m going to leave you with a couple of actionable steps towards bringing your creativity back. But before we get into that, I want to explain even more about why we struggle with this. So think back to before you started your business. Whether you are a photographer or a painter, or a writer, or whatever it is that you create, before you got paid as an entrepreneur to do your thing. You most likely did it just for fun, it filled your soul and excited you and you loved to do it in your free time. And then one day you started a business and you decided to start profiting off of this amazing hobby. That’s when things start to get rough. The difference is when you move from having just a passionate hobby that you’re good at, into being a business owner who is striving for success. The difference is your to do list and the pressure that it creates.
Once you decide to take your creative passion and turn it into a business. There are so many things that come into play. All of a sudden, you have to understand business and numbers, how to sell a product or service marketing websites, social media and so much more. You are no longer just doing the amazing creative thing that you love. You are now balancing so much more than that. And it’s highly likely that you still have all of your other life things going on outside of this business. You probably still have kids and a partner and a home and a community. And maybe you even have a full time job or a large volunteer commitment that you participate in. So in addition to your already full life, you have added in so many extra tasks, just by raising your hand and saying I want to be an entrepreneur. And this is when creativity starts to get sucked away bit by bit. our to do list our days and our minds are overflowing. Simply put, we’re doing way too much. We used to create in our free time with no pressure and now we are creating with the pressure of performing and producing and selling those pressure along with the lack of free time that we have all drain our creativity.
Here’s an example that everyone can relate to think back to when you were a child. And imagine you’re eight or nine or 10 years old, and it’s in the middle of summertime, you have not a single thing to do. It’s just you, and your toys, and your art supplies and your neighborhood friends, what happened, it’s highly likely that those days began to be filled with all kinds of naturally flowing creativity. You probably made up games, you probably went on adventures, you probably created amazing art projects, you probably laid around and spent time reading or staring at your ceiling or found shapes in the clouds outside your bedroom window. The point is, creativity was flowing from you. So naturally, because you had absolutely nothing to do. There was no pressure, there was no homework, there was nowhere to be, there was nothing but time and space and freedom. And creativity came super easily to you. So just like back when we were kids, we need time and space to let creativity thrive. overstimulated, and over programmed and overwhelmed adults cannot create freely.
So here are a couple of action steps that you can implement into your life this week, right now, to start to peel back the layers and allow creativity to flow more freely. The first thing is going to be to pull back on your social media consumption. I know social media is fun. It’s part of our marketing plan. And we get social community in that space. But it is also a mind suck, and a time suck. When we are struggling to create and have time in our lives, social media consumption is a huge problem. Pulling back from social media for a bit is not going to hurt your business. It’s not going to completely tank, your sales or your followers, it’s not going to do anything drastically harmful. But it will give you more time. And it will give you more clarity, and it will quiet your mind.
If you’re anything like me, you can sometimes be really inspired by what you see on social media. But oftentimes that inspiration turns into thoughts like I should create the same thing. Oh, I should build the same thing. Oh, maybe I should try and do a similar thing. It creates this wish list of things that I feel like I need to create undue because others are creating and doing it adds pressure to my mind and my day and my to do list. When if I were to simply have pulled back from the amount of social media I was consuming. Yeah, I might not be as marketing as much or getting as much social media fun out of my day. But my brain would be able to rest a little, I would be able to think clearly about what I actually need to do. Pulling back from social media consumption also removes the pressure to perform. As I mentioned earlier, when we used to create just for fun, and for pleasure, and part of the beauty of that was not having to perform, we were creating for ourselves, not for sales. But when I’m on Instagram, looking at what other creative entrepreneurs are doing and producing and creating, I feel pressured to do the same. I feel pressure to sell as much to market as much to create a product that is as good as so and so. So pulling back from social media relieves the pressure to perform because I’m not comparing myself to what everyone else is doing. I’m focused on myself, my family and my own work.
So the second action step I want to leave you with today is to intentionally build in whitespace into your calendar. I will go into this much much further in a future episode because whitespace is something I am super passionate about. But today I will leave you with this whitespace is literally what it sounds like. It is a blank space on your calendar that is intentionally left blank. As creative entrepreneurs and moms. We fill our days to the brim. As creative entrepreneurs and moms, we fill our days to the brim. It’s not uncommon that every single hour time slot of every single day has something penciled in, whether it is something for our business, our family, our community or ourselves. We have so much going on. Think back to when I mentioned earlier that the periods of time when we were bored as children is when creativity flowed so free Really, that is exactly the same problem that you are experiencing now, there is no space in your week on your calendar, where you are allowing yourself to be bored. Everything is too full. So my encouragement to you is this, look at your calendar this week. And next week, and the following week, and every single week for the next two or three months, find a three hour time slot that you can mark off for whitespace. But make sure that you have childcare during that time. Because if you don’t, you will end up doing household things like caring for those kids and doing your laundry, that’s not whitespace leave these chunks of time completely blank. So that when Friday afternoon rolls around, and you have a three hour window of time, you can do whatever you want, you can do what your soul needs, you can take a nap, you can get a pedicure, you can read a book on the couch, or walk the dogs.
And maybe you will feel the drive to create just for fun. Because you have free time and space that you have given to yourself. White space should be used for whatever you need. I will caution you though, the practice of building and whitespace and then actually using it is very hard. We are so over programmed that the thought of having three hours to ourselves to do whatever we want, not work on our business, not work on our family, not run errands, but do whatever we want, is going to feel extremely frivolous. And if you’re anything like me, it’s going to be really hard to allow yourself to sit still, the first few times that you do this practice, it’s going to take physical effort to actually follow through.
When I first started this, I actually had to have one of my best friends check in with me to make sure that I was not doing anything. The more you practice it though, the easier it will get the lighter and the lighter you will feel. And the lighter you feel the easier creativity starts to flow back into your life. You can envision it like this picture a bucket full of water. The bucket is so full that it’s spilling over right now. It’s splashing around everywhere. That is your to do list and the pressure that you’ve created in your life. There is literally no room for creativity because the bucket is already overflowing. Allowing yourself whitespace every week is going to slowly lower the amount of water in the bucket to the point that it’s not overflowing anymore, there will actually be room in the bucket. And that is where creativity comes in.
I hope this episode has been encouraging to you. Finding creativity as a creative entrepreneur is a real struggle. And it’s something that we can oftentimes feel really shameful about because shouldn’t creativity come super easily to us. If this is you know that you’re not alone. This is such a common problem. And after the two action steps I’ve given you today, I hope you feel encouraged and inspired to put these things into practice and get your creativity back. If this is you know that you are not alone. This is such a common problem.
And after the two action steps I’ve given you today, I hope that you feel encouraged and inspired to put these things into practice and get your creativity back. If you want to take things a bit further, you can grab my free sustainability guide for creative entrepreneurs. In this guide, I give you 10 Steps to a long term sustainable business and hint whitespace is one of those steps, you can grab that guide at sabrina gephardt.com backslash sustainable and of course the link will be in the show notes. I hope you are able to pull back from social media a bit this week and also to build in your first chunk of whitespace I promise you that doing those two things on a regular basis will have you feeling like a new person. Until next time, my friend. See you later.
Thanks so much for listening to the shoot it straight podcast. You can find all the full show notes and details from today’s episode at Sabrina gebhardt.com backslash podcast comm find me and connect over on the gram at Sabrina Gebhardt photography. If you’re loving the podcast, I’d be honored if you hit that subscribe button and leave me a review. Until next time, my friends shoot it straight.