We will be talking about the four reasons why your creative craft or business feels stuck and you might not be moving forward – and how to fix those things so that you can finally get moving again and your creativity will flourish! I felt this way recently – like I was doing all right things and still nothing was moving – even worse. It was slowly rolling backwards. If you feel that way too, listen on! Become a Patron!
Email Marketing I’ve recently subscribed to Nick Stephenson’s EMU series – Email Marketing Unplugged. So glad I subscribed! It’s such a wonderful series which gave me so many ideas on how to tweak both my fiction as well as my non-fiction email marketing, and Nick is now releasing a whole course (not an affiliate link, just love the concept 😉 ). Dystopian Fiction If you’re into dystopian fiction, I do recommend “Red Rising” by Pierce Brown – I’m on the second book now, “The Golden Sun”. It’s a pretty dark version of the Hunger Games, and I loved the fact that it was gritty, brutal and had an unusual atmosphere to it. The worldbuilding is pretty amazing – there is a whole new universe that seems to correlate with ancient understandings and values and is still set in the future. BUT I felt like the atmosphere of the book was too dark. It was hard to love the main character just because he is always so intense and serious, and there were no lighter moments that would make the story at least a little warm. It seems like there is only pain, and war, and more pain – it would be good to have some moments that would allow to glimpse beyond that, let the intensity go and make those characters human. Still, it’s an extraordinary read for everyone interested in the genre and beyond! break
It’s all about moving to the next level now!
- I’m taking my blogging and business seriously and want to transfer it to the next level: Taking a German course SCHREIBCLAN from a successful blogger and a great friend, and loving it so far!
- Tweaking my brand, freebie, landing pages and everything else so expect changes and new things for you if you subscribe! Learning SEO and trying to improve my copywriting.
- Also, changing my fiction marketing – a new blurb and a new cover for my book because I will relaunch it completely and with it the second book as well.
- This is new for me but I’m excited to take on these projects! I want to make money and I want to find readers that I can help with my business so I really am excited to take it to the next level and put in the work The next level – this is what the episode is about!
Unstuck your creativity – 4 reasons and fixes to finally move forward
I’m stuck. My car won’t move on a mountain road in Austria, and panic is slowly tightening my throat. I’m in the middle of nowhere. And the stupid thing refuses to drive. Why? I just don’t get it. It makes no sense. The motor is running; the tank is full of gasoline, there has been no incident at all—but it won’t go up this hill. And whenever I push the gas pedal, it only roars like a wild lion and slowly rolls backwards. Does your creative life and business sometimes feel this way? Your email list won’t grow. Your books or products won’t sell. Or just can’t get past page sixty in your first draft. You’ve done all the right things. Put in time and effort, but suddenly, it feels like it’s stagnating. It won’t move forward, and the harder you push the gas pedal, the more painful it feels, slowly taking you down that hill. And all you wonder is: Why? It makes no sense. break
1. You try to figure it out by yourself
Creatives often live in an “artist bubble”. Because creativity in itself can be a very lonely process—whether you’re writing a book or composing a song, you need this lonely time to actually CREATE – the bubble can envelop us in everything we do. We become “routine-blinded.” We’ve spent so much time with our product we cannot tell good from bad anymore. So we blame the world. Nobody understands my creativity. People don’t appreciate my originality. Or the internet. It’s a discoverability problem. So instead of fixing the product, you go ahead and buy Facebook and Instagram ads to drive traffic to your website. This won’t fix the problem though—like pushing the gas pedal only to roll down that hill yet again. But not until I called roadside assistance, and the car was brought into a workshop did I know the real source of the problem. Here is when you need community. Don’t be afraid to ask people for their help and opinion. The more, the better. Ask the readers on your email list what they think of the new book cover or if they’re intrigued by the blurb. Work with beta readers and editors on your first draft. Join a mastermind group and ask questions about your product, your website, your creativity. Be part of several Facebook groups, take part actively while giving advice and asking for it. Go on meetup.com and find a local writing group where you can get your work critiqued and meet like-minded people. It’s surely a risk—the answers might sting. Like did the bill presented to me by the workshop. But this is the only way for your creativity to get moving again—to get a diagnosis and pay a price. What good would it do if the car mechanic gave me a positive but completely false diagnosis? If he told me – my car is fine, you don’t have to pay a dollar? I would not have been able to get out of this place and continue my tour across Austria. My book is not selling – and that’s a fact. Now I could blame the readers for being too busy or philistine, I could blame Amazon for having too many titles. But I put my cover and blurb in a facebook mastermind group and asked self-publishers for their opinion. The answers were not positive. They hurt. But they led me unto a great path knowing what to fix and what direction to go with the cover and blurb. Don’t be afraid to put your creativity out there and ask peers and consumers for their honest opinion. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, and take those opinions seriously. They will lead you into a path on how to start moving again. break
2. Your knowledge is limited
It’s the beauty of working in a creative industry: you can draw from an endless pool of knowledge and development. But it also means that you always have to develop your knowledge and craft. In whatever area of creativity you feel you’re stuck – it’s always a good idea to start developing in this area. Buy a book, enrol in a course, start drawing from the pool of knowledge others have acquired before you. It was important to have my car fixed by a proper mechanic, someone who knows his way around Toyotas. It might be more expensive – but it’s worth it in the long run The same goes for your creativity. Invest in good quality books and courses that will give your traction and help you move forward. break
3. You need a break
My Toyota is a car that is over ten years old. It’s an excellent car, but it can’t escape the damage that comes with the years. The damage that is caused by usage. It was “worn out”. This can happen to us as well. As creatives, we can rarely separate work from the rest of life. Work-life-balance is a myth. Our work is our life because it springs from the deepest parts inside of us and because we are willing to labour into the night and during the early morning hours to accomplish our goals. But you have your limits. Your body and your mind do. You can wear out. This sickness is especially easy to recognize by the following symptoms:
- lack of ideas
- constant frustration
- lack of motivation
- you know where your problems lie but have no idea how to fix them
- your creative work starts to become a burden
Those feelings are a common indication that you need a break from constant work. You need to take a vacation. Experience some adventure, spend time with your loved ones and do anything to get distracted from your creative work. This will provide you with new energy, new ideas and a wave of motivation to return to your work. My advice is: Don’t let this ever happen at all by regularly incorporating time “off” into your schedule. Be strict about it. Exercise regularly, spent time with friends and family (where you don’t talk about your work all the time) and plan a vacation where you can power down and experience some new adventure. break
4. You need new components
After getting a proper damage analysis, and acquiring knowledge and powering down to recover it’s time to fix the problem to get moving. In my Toyota, the half-axis was broken. The mechanic had to order a new component and replace it. And this is what you need to do with your creative business – replace the damaged components. Otherwise, you will never climb that hill. Those components are everything you can do to make your business grow – change your landing page, work on your SEO, change the cover and blurb, re-edit your book or even republish it. No matter how small or big the changes – before you exchange those damaged components, nothing will move forward.
All of this will take time. I had to wait for my car to be fixed properly before I could continue my journey through marvellous Austria again. But you know what the irony of this whole journey was? On the next day, something else in my car broke down yet again. Something completely unrelated, but it disrupted my vacation. It was not planned and not calculated for, and it frustrated me. I had to repeat the whole process yet again, and pay yet another price. It was a costly journey that got me thinking: Was it even worth it? Maybe it’d be better if I’d stayed at home, safe, instead of driving all the way down here? This is what we often think when our creative progress stagnates: Was it even worth it? Maybe I should have stayed in my safe day job, maybe it was a mistake investing all the time and money into a dead-end? But when I look at the journey in retrospect, I realize that I am thankful. It was an amazing vacation with many adventures along the way and many takeaways that were worth the risk. Maybe I should have done things differently, but I learn from my mistakes and I move on. And this is what empowers your creativity – fix those problems and move on, learn from your mistakes and live a life that is full of thankfulness, adventure and the privilege of living your dreams. Are there any situations in your creative life that got you stuck? Maybe you are stuck right now? Comment and let me know how I can help you – maybe I can recommend a book, a course or a diagnosis that will finally get you moving again!