Creativity Kick-Start: Identify and Release Background Noise



When creative projects or brainstorming efforts hit a long-term lull, it might be time to consider the impact of a stealth culprit called background noise. This indirect distraction slowly builds up steam to form creative blocks, but has long-term staying power because the source of the “noise” is not always obvious to you.


The tricky part? It can take place inside your mind or in your physical space.


Background noise can take on four distinct forms:

  • Negative self-talk that won’t let up or constantly compares you to others
  • Opinions of others that distract you or convince you to do it their way instead of your own
  • Physical noise in your creative environment – television, music, technology, family, pets, neighbors etc.
  • The drama and chaos of other people in your life


You can have one or all four types of background noise happening simultaneously – without a clue it’s been going on for ages. It can leave you feeling indecisive, stuck or frustrated without any specific reason or way to move things forward.


To shake things up and refresh your perspective, it helps to take quiet time alone to sit and feel into what’s going on.


Here’s a simple exercise you can try to tune into what background noise may be distracting you:


If meditation is not easy for you, take a walk, go for a drive or sit outdoors at a favorite spot.

Once you’ve had a chance to settle in, notice how you feel. Are you at peace? Do you feel calmer mentally and physically? Do you have a sense of getting back into a natural rhythm within yourself? Or is your mind still racing, bouncing thought to thought?

After getting a clear sense of how you feel when removed from your regular distractions – begin to take note of what’s not present. Is the radio off? Have you put the phone on vibrate or turned it off altogether? Did you take the afternoon off, or choose to eat lunch alone? Is the setting quiet enough that you can finally hear yourself think, or does your mind still keep latching onto distractions?

Take note of anything you see, feel or experience so you can refer back to it later to connect the dots.


The experience of this exercise or something similar will give you insight into what type of distractions yell the loudest. For example, if you remove yourself from all physical distractions but your mind is still bouncing all over the place, then you are dealing with more of an internal distraction than a physical one. If you get away from the noise of your home or office and feel more peaceful, there may be some physical noise or interactions with others that keep you from getting into a regular creative groove with ease.




Actively Create a Fresh “Noise-Free” Environment

The distractions pulling and pushing for your attention can become part of a release plan, once you know what they are. It may involve actively blocking some of the noise out with headphones, saying “no” more often or simply making a choice for yourself, not the benefit of someone else. This requires practice just like any new habit.


So be willing to make some choices in favor of yourself, even if it means you initially feel like you might be missing something. Truth is, you aren’t missing anything, you are just used to the feeling of being mentally and emotionally crowded. The more you practice blocking out the background noise, the faster you will pick up on the more subtle insights and ideas that were being lost, and clearly see a creative path towards them.


What tools do you use to pinpoint distractions? How do you make choices towards creative health and away from more chaotic behavior?


If you think you might need a little perspective, I can help you sort out the noise and build a clearer approach to an inner creative connection. Check out some of my creativity and personal development services to see how I can support you in making a fresh break from all the background noise, or download my Mini Guide to Connecting with your Inner Guidance and Creative Fire.


Photo credit: NeverendingStomp, YogaSoleBrooklyn