Overcoming Creative Resistance | New England Photographer + Videographer

It happens to every creative at some point. Our skills are improving and creativity is flowing, when suddenly we hit a wall. Editing a gallery or film feels like moving through a dense fog and the things that once thrilled us, now terrify us.

I like to personify this feeling as Resistance.

Creativity is the relationship between a human and the mystery of Inspiration. It’s in this mystery that Resistance meets us. It lurks in the shadows and can’t be seen. It is self-generated and self-perpetuated. It’s the enemy within. It loves fear. It also loves pride and preciousness. Read that last line again.

Creativity will always find a conduit…but it will take the path of least Resistance.

If you’re to be a creative idea’s human collaborator, start by asking yourself what you’re afraid of and pull Resistance out of the shadows. Here are just a few of my fears…

It’s all been done already.
There’s no market for family films.
Clients with young kids will stop hiring a creative with older kids.

Once we name our fears, we can begin to combat them! Read on for ideas on how to wage war on Resistance and start overcoming creative resistance.

Date your creativity.

You’re not entitled to creativity because you call yourself an artist. It also doesn’t “come naturally.” Creativity is nothing more than long obedience in the same direction. Woo creativity with long walks, journaling, or a trip alone to an art museum. Einstein proposed “combinatory play”—that we open up one creative channel by dabbling in another. It’s why I started playing the ukulele this fall!

Cultivate curiosity.

You can’t steer a parked car. Keep moving and keep asking questions. Take a class, ask “how did they do that?” and then find the answer. It lives somewhere on YouTube. I keep a spreadsheet with links to editing hacks and inspiring family films so I can easily revisit every bunny trail my curiosity led me down.

Revisit other parts of you.

When did we become reduced to pixels on a screen? We diminish ourselves when our photography becomes our identity. Our identity will never be what we DO but who we ARE. Photography is only one expression of our personhood. Did you like to cook before starting a business? Revisit that. Did that instrument you never touch now once give you joy? You should play it.

Expect inspiration.

Children live in the thrill of the moment, believing what you need to embrace…that inspiration is around every corner. See it as a game of hide-and-seek. Inspiration is just playing hard to get. Be a good sport and stay in the game.

Be patient with the process.

Like a magnetized needle on water, whatever Resistance points to is the very thing we should be doing. We have to accept that frustration is part of the process. You’re giving birth to art and it’s going to hurt. Is the end result worth it to you? I hope so.

Don’t seek validation from others.

Comparison is the thief of joy. Seeking validation from others will drain off creativity faster than anything. We need to love our work in order for it to love us back. Don’t let others define that love for you.

Don’t be too precious about the work.

We smother and suffocate Inspiration when we hover and fuss over our work, demanding perfection that doesn’t exist. Perfection is just fear in a fancy dress. Let’s stop telling ourselves it’s one of our greatest assets. It’s not.

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I hope these suggestions for overcoming creative resistance help inspire you to press on and continue to share your gift with the world!

love amy xo


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