Making it Through a Creative Desert to the Other Side

 creative desert, creativity, creative, Creative Katrina, self judgment, change, inspiration, creative mojo, desert


It takes guts to admit when we are in the middle of a creative desert, especially if we aren’t sure how to get out of it to the other side. 


The experience can start out innocently enough. Distractions become more engaging than looking at what’s “dried up”, and why. Drama inflicted by others takes on a new level of importance, and there’s always lots of excuses about timing and inspiration. We might also focus on what isn’t working to a fault, instead of what we can create to get our mojo flowing again. 


Or, we simply don’t want to admit that something needs to change. To compensate, we keep trudging towards a dusty horizon, no oasis in site. 


If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know I’m the first to say the ebb and flow of creative energy is completely normal; part of our personal growth and path towards more authentic creative self expression as we grow. 


Yet, denial can also skew our perspective about what we are seeing and sensing. A mirage of what we WANT to see can keep us focused on pushing forward at all costs, rather than honestly admitting what we already know. That the creative desert is a telling us to look deeper at what, and where, we are gathering inspiration and nourishment, and if we need something more than we are getting in order to thrive. 


Feeling a need to produce is one reason why it’s hard to admit when the creative desert is taking over, especially when our self worth is resting on the quality of what create. Creatives and creative entrepreneurs identify with being expressive as an important personal value. When we can’t quite get into a groove with our intuitive, expressive selves, we begin to feel “off” or less than. This experience can intensify even if the downtime is essential to taking a step back to do more self care, or to prepare for a new adventure that’s not yet come to pass. 


Often, the source of distress about a creative desert is the fear that it will never end. 


When we are already scared, we can fall into asking questions that aren’t very helpful, such as:

  • What is wrong with me?
  • When will I be inspired again?
  • Is there something wrong with my career path or creative focus?


You get the picture.  We get bogged down in details and forget our “why”. 


This is how many creatives get off balance, forgetting the “why” behind their creative desires. And when we lose that, everything is so much harder to navigate. 


A creative desert doesn’t always show up with a big neon sign, either. For creative entrepreneurs it can materialize as losing focus or excitement about a certain type of client or project, or feeling like the current path is no longer fulfilling or engaging. These shifts in desire can be sudden or drift in like a sandbar, creeping up on us in a way we didn’t even notice until we simply can’t wash the sand off for good. Sometimes they pass, other times they aren’t meant to pass so we can dig a little deeper. 


But there is power in the pause, if we use it for non-judgmental self-reflection and to practice playing with our  thoughts and energy objectively. 


Ask Questions To Encourage Contemplation, Not Blame


To shift how we are feeling, it can help to ask questions that are more inviting than blaming, such as:

  • What does my heart want, and what can I do to hear it better in my daily life?
  • What am I creating out of need vs desire, and how can I create a better balance between the two expressions? 
  • Where are obligations from the outside world impeding on my inspiration or motivation, and are they valid? 
  • What makes me happy to build or create now, not in the past or in the future? 


If you find a creative desert is fast on your heels, here are some tools to get things to flow and flourish once again. 

  • Reconnect to the oasis within by admitting you are in a creative desert and need to regroup.  
  • Start saying no to things without feeling guilty, and gather a deeper understanding into why you are saying no (because there is always a reason). They are important clues. 
  • Do something completely out of your comfort zone that challenges you and frees up any desire to judge the outcome. 
  • Focus on better self-care through diet, exercise, taking a class, connecting with a healthcare professional, healer or coach, creative peers, get out in nature, or connect with a spiritual practice more regularly to refill your cup. 
  • Journal about what feels so “dried up” for the soul purpose of expressing it, not focusing on fixing or solving it.  
  • Be willing to leave behind what is sucking the heart dry, whether it’s people, work projects, or a work/personal environment. etc. 
  • Have the tough the conversations with yourself and people around you to express what you need, without expecting them to fill that void. Also be willing to collaborate, not dictate, how to explore and create something more positive. 


While a creative desert can be discouraging, it’s also a clear sign we need something different than what we are building, offering, creating, sharing, doing, and more. Use it as the gift it can be by exploring and expanding into new realms of mental freedom, rather than as a way to pile on self judgement or negativity. The “desert” experience is simply shedding light on a new direction by illuminating what can be released or updated, if you are willing to go there. 


For posts on a similar topic, check out View Creative Challenges as Opportunities to Find Intuitive Solutions and Healing and The Heart Chakra: Emotions, Love and the Heart of a Creative Journey. I would also love to connect with people one on one. Schedule an intuitive reading or discovery session with me to see how I can help you move through a creative challenge or shed light on a mindset shift.