It's been pretty busy here in blog land over the past several weeks. Since my first post, and the creation of Potential Psychology Blog two months ago I have written over 30 pieces for the blog, and another four guest blog posts. I've completed the Clever Cookie School of Blog (four weeks, heaps of content, lots of enthusiastic fellow students - it all kept me on my toes) and I'm now part of a blog mentoring group. It's fantastic fun, I'm loving every moment of it and I've had some wonderful feedback from many of you, which plays a big part in keeping me motivated and inspired and often still at my desk way past bed time.
Last week I hit a wall. Until last week I had blog ideas swinging their way towards me multiple times a day. My brain was buzzing with new topics, items to post on social media, ideas to try out, even funny stuff (well I thought it was funny) but late last week it stopped. I was devoid of all creativity. No matter how hard I tried to trigger a little stream of bloggy consciousness to get the ideas flowing they would not come. There was other stuff going on; sniffly kids, house purchase shenanigans, the usual domestic/work/life challenges but they weren't to blame. I think I just wore myself out. I lost my writing mojo.
So after a weekend hanging with the kids, taking a long walk with a few thousand other Ballaratians for Run Ballarat, spending time at the pool and cooking up my large oversupply of vegetables (the result of a serious online ordering fail) I did what I usually do when I have a question - I Googled. Specifically I was interested in what the psychologists had to say about running your creativity dry.
I wasn't disappointed. Breon Michel, a US based expert in stress and resilience, reminded me that sitting at your desk trying really hard to be creative is about the least creative thing that you can do. She made a good point - do your best ideas come to you while sitting in front of a computer, late at night, trying your hardest? Or do they come when you're walking the dog, having a shower or even doing the dishes?
Evidence from neuroscience tells us we are at our most creative and come up with our best ideas when our brain is relaxed and calm. Push it too hard and those creative neurons will clam up and there's no prying them back into action.
The solution? Sloooooww doooowwnnn. Calm that brain. Chill out. Stop thinking for a while. Let the neurons think you've turned your back and you're paying them no heed. While you're busy chillaxing (or at least focusing on something a little different - like mowing the lawn or hitting a golf ball) they might decide that they're ready to come back out and play.
So that's my mantra for this week. I'm slowing down, focusing on a few other projects, working on the business side of blogging for a bit, reading, oh and doing the 1,000 other usual tasks of the mother and domestic CEO.
If you're banging your head against the wall trying to make the ideas appear, why don't you join me and let's see if we're not all feeling just that little bit more creative next week.
P.S. If you'd like to read Breon Michel's full article, you can find it here