Feeling overwhelmed? Here’s how to get back into the creative flow

Inga Maria Panten
5 min readAug 27, 2020
Writer’s block — Photo by Steve Johnson via Unsplash

As a creative or artist with a ceaseless stream of thoughts, it is easy to feel overwhelmed, stuck or unable to create “new stuff.”

Especially if you are just beginning to put yourself out there as an artist and sharing your work on a regular basis.

Wanna know my favorite remedy?

Don’t hold back. Express yourself and let it all out. But do it by varying your pace and utilizing different ways of creative expression.

Let go. Take a step back

When you are tapping into the source of creative flow from the arts community, the inspiration just keeps coming and you hardly know what to do with it all.

How do we channel the inspiration? How do we express all these new ideas and emotions?

By taking a step back and shifting our focus.

Because what we focus on expands. That’s the law of attraction. The more we think about something, the more presence we allow it in our lives.

If you focus on being overwhelmed, that is all you are going to feel. But how about changing things up a little to find clarity again?

Don’t try and force yourself to create in a certain way. Let go and take a step back. Give your mind time to reassemble the pieces.

Let go of expectations

I guess the hardest thing, as an artist who just wants to express him- or herself, to be heard, is that it feels like others put you on a pedestal. And sometimes our ego takes over and we start doing the same to ourselves. The ego is the artist’s biggest enemy.

It just puts unhealthy expectations on us. And expectations are poison to creativity.

When you feel like it is all too much and everybody seems to want a piece of you, take some time away to look after yourself.

Rest. We’re only human, after all

Most of the time, we feel like we have a million things on our mind. A million things to do. And we do!

But we can only manage, if we take one single step at a time.

I tend to identify more strongly with my mission as an artist than with my human shape. Which often leaves me feeling like an alien in real life, but I’m fine with that.

What bothers me is that it also leads me to neglect my basic human needs. And that’s not ok, if you want to keep being creative.

So every now and again, I remind myself that I am only human after all.

We get the feeling that there are not enough hours in a day. But, in fact, there are more than enough. Time is no limit for art — nor is anything else, really.

Yes, you are an artist. And you have every right to share your gift and express yourself in any way you like. But you cannot afford to neglect the human being.

We can only create so many things in one day, without depleting our human battery. This meat bag may seem like a burden sometimes, but it is all we got, after all.

Our body is the motor that powers our creative souls. So treat it like the temple it is.

That’s what we have to take care of and hold in highest regard. How do we do that? By living self-love and taking care of ourselves. Allow yourself time to rest and stop creating.

Because even though it might feel like you are not being productive, these ‘idle’ moments are actually the most important for our mind to come up with new ideas. By slowing down, we create space for new things to happen.

“This is very important — to take leisure time. Pace is the essence. Without stopping entirely and doing nothing at all for great periods, you’re gonna lose everything. Just to do nothing at all, very, very important.” — Charles Bukowski

Play. Use your favorite creative tools in new ways

When we love something so much and we know that this is our strength, it can be very hard to let go and do something different. Because that’s what we do best, right?

But even just in writing itself, it is possible to play around with so many different forms of expression.

As a professional writer, words are my daily companions — in my job, as well as in my personal life as a poet. I mostly write poems, but I also love to journal. I am currently working on a non-fiction book about surfing and the effect it has on my life.

For my clients, I write articles and eBooks on topics like self-development, love and spirituality. I love to share articles on amazing platforms like Mindvalley and Medium. (Thank you for your great work!)

But I also enjoy translation jobs, where I get to look at things through different languages — and therefore through different eyes — which helps to put everything into perspective.

The creative flow is all about the play between rest and motion, keeping things flowing by varying your own speed and types of activities.

Shift your focus. Try different ways of artistic expression

Sometimes, we feel like we have exhausted ourselves as a creative in a certain area, feel burned-out or out of our depth.

We struggle to create “new stuff,” because we put too much pressure on ourselves after past experiences of success. In these moments, it helps me to explore other ways of artistic expression.

When I experience writers’ block or any other form of creative ‘congestion,’ I know that I have to let go for a while. Put the notebook and pen away and do something different.

My favorite ways to get the creative juices flowing again

· Surfing (as a form of dance)

· meditation

· yoga

· life and portrait drawing

· singing (preferably at the top of my poorly trained voice and naked)

· dancing (also naked and mostly to African tunes — OR Van Morrison…)

Self-love is the key to creativity

While you are sharing your work with the world, it is important that you don’t forget to take care of yourself. Don’t let yourself get carried away in the midst of all the sharing and giving.

Self-love is the source of all other forms of love, art being one of them.

So please make sure that you give yourself enough love today. Allow yourself to let go and fall. Rest for a while. It will help you create more art tomorrow.

I love you. xx