5 C's That Curb Your Creativity

Susan Narjala   |   July 5, 2021 

Having been in a bit of a creative slump recently, I sifted through the reasons behind it. There emerged five causes—and lo and behold—all of them started with the letter 'C'. Okay, I admit, I may have dusted off a thesaurus to help me find appropriate ‘C’ words, but, I’m an alliteration addict with no cure in sight.

With that completely inane and inconsequential introduction behind us, let’s talk about the 5 C’s that could curb your creativity.

1. Counting

Counting followers, counting likes, counting views, counting subscribers, counting “friends”, counting shares, counting…you-name-it.

This is something I struggle with. Regularly. But when I look back at my work, every time the numbers have climbed, it’s been a total and complete surprise that God orchestrated, and had nothing to do with my careful calculations.

We live in a world where numbers seem to dictate worth. But can we focus, instead, on the kind of impact we create with our talents? Even if we reach just one or two people with our work, let’s make that count!

Remember: counting doesn’t compound your creativity. Let’s leave the calculating to the numbers guys.

What you can do instead of counting: Be accountable to someone about your creative pursuits. Not someone who will nag or make you feel guilty, but someone who will lovingly hold you to a standard and schedule you've set for yourself.

2. Comparing

You’ve heard ‘nuff about this. And then some. Comparisons. Just. Don’t. Help.

I love Craig Groechel’s quote on this topic: “The fastest way to kill something special is to compare it to something else.”

Comparisons are paralyzing.

When the urge to compare yourself to others sets in, swat it. Like you would a fly. (Hey, don’t go calling PETA on me).

What you can do instead of comparing: Invest time and consistent effort in what you're good at - and become great at it. It may mean taking online courses, it may mean painting a picture and then painting it three more times, or trying for the 10th time to make gooey-est caramel brownies. Keep on keeping on.

3. Curating

If all you and I are doing is cherry-picking moments of our lives for social media, that ain’t creating. That’s decorating. Ask yourself: Is my window display better than the stuff in my store?

When you create, there’s joy in the process. When you curate, it’s for the applause.

What you can do instead of curating: Create without an audience in mind. You're not going to sell it. You're not going to post pics of it on social media. This is just for you. Create as authentically as possible. Create because you're passionate. Create because it's bubbling up within you and you absolutely have to get it out.

4. Consuming

We’ve become a culture where scrolling is considered an acceptable pastime. But if all we’re doing is consuming, that leaves little room for creating.

Mindless scrolling is easy and fun – but, man, do we need time to just think deeply and just be.

What you can do instead of consuming: Become a noticer and an observer. Go to a coffee shop or a park and just spend time noticing the little details - the smells, expressions on people's faces, the banter, conversation... This helps especially if you're a writer or a speaker looking for material for your work.

5. Criticizing

It’s good to be exacting with your work. You’re called to do all things with excellence. But constructive critiquing is way different from caustic criticism of yourself.

“I suck” is a great line. If you’re a paper straw.

You won’t have any mental space or energy left to create if you’re constantly beating yourself up about the quality of your work.

What you can do instead of criticizing: One of the best ways to stop yourself from being super critical of yourself is to see all you do as worship to God. If you're creating for the glory of God, your heart posture will be humble. You won't be hard on yourself when you know that God sees your heart more than your hustle.

Well, we’re done with a quick run-down of our 5 C’s, but, like those made-for-TV product ads go: But wait, there’s more! Here’s your free, never-before, custom designed-for-you feature:  

Bonus C – Constant Distraction

(Well, it’s really a ‘D’ but you see what I did there?)

Creativity requires us to be fully present. That means turning our phones off (gasp!). That means we don’t have to respond to every buzz and beep (whhaaa?), because that’s going to cut off the circulation to those creative juices.

What you can do instead of being constantly distracted: Okay, this may sound corny, but pray. Pray for an undistracted mind. Pray for discipline and dedication. Pray for God to establish the work of your hands.

Seize the moment and tap into your gift.

Let’s kick those creativity crushers to the curb!

Let’s mind our C’s!

Let’s get creating!


Photo by Jr Korpa on Unsplash

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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4 comments on “5 C's That Curb Your Creativity”

  1. Bonus one can be "Concentration" ? to be a real C.. good article this one. lot of reflection needed. Thank you

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