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When the Creative Physician Gets Stuck

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As a creative physician, you probably find your happy place in art, music, crafts, gardening or design. Investing time in the things we enjoy is healthy and helps stave off burnout.

But what happens when we hit a creative block? When you feel stuck?

You know how you find that AMAZING red dress that fits like a glove and is absolutely perfect for the party you’re looking forward to?

You bask in the glow of your newfound treasure for a few minutes and then suddenly it hits you.

Everything you DON’T have to go with the dress comes into full focus.

You don’t have the right shoes. 

You don’t have the right earrings. 

You don’t have the right purse.

And so it goes…. (sigh!)

We often do the exact same thing to ourselves when we find a creative outlet we are just dying to explore.  Maybe for you it’s music, painting, gardening or crafting… for me, it was always design and decorating. 

Instead of focusing on what you do have, do you focus on all the ways you are lacking? Do you create barriers to your own creativity and enjoyment of it?

I definitely have.

My Biggest Creative Blocks as a Creative Physician

Before I got my design degree, I decided I really wanted to hone my own design skills and try to get better at it. I was super excited to get started until… I started thinking, “But wait, ..

“I really need to have my own design style first.”

“I need to have a bigger budget.”

“I need to live in my forever home (or at least my long time home) before I invest in changing things up.”

Do you do the same thing? 

We often postpone diving into our creativity because we think we need to do or have x, y and z first. 

This is in part due to our primal brain that wants to keep us safe and in our comfort zones.

Ummm…thanks primal brain, but no thanks!!

What if Your Creative Block Isn’t a Block at All?

But when you step back and look at these… none of them are true, right?

What if you don’t have to have a well defined design style first?

What if you don’t have to have limitless budget?

What if you don’t have to live in your forever home?

We make these things up in our minds and believe they are true. 

But the truth is, when it comes to creative endeavors, we can do it anyway we want!!! 

My Biggest Self-Imposed Barrier

The biggest barrier (ahem… excuse) I had for not stepping fully into my creativity was my belief that everything I created had to be 100% original. 

I set the bar super high for myself…unnecessarily high.

And I eventually learned that it was just an impossible bar to meet.

I was left staring at a blank page of ideas and no clue where to go.

The Value of Stealing Like an Artist

It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Austin Kleon’s book, “Steal Like An Artist” and read the quote above, that I realized that I was setting myself up for failure and frustration by thinking this way. 

I soon learned that it’s not only ok to be inspired and even try to imitate others, it’s actually an integral part of the process of developing your own design skills and style. It’s how you learn design, train your design eye, and eventually, create your “own” style. In other words, it’s ok to “steal” like an artist…. to imitate…to copy.

I think many of us have this idea that your own style just happens or that some people are just “born with it”… it’s a divine revelation that just appears in your head all of a sudden.  You’ve just put the kids to bed and you’re settling in for a Netflix show when Wham!  Your own personally crafted design style hits you like a wave – 

Suddenly you know that your style is upscale casual chic with traditional lines and bold pattern and color reminiscent of Paris in the 1920s.  

Yeah…. Well….. Not so much, right??  

That doesn’t happen.  To anyone!  Your style is something you actually discover and create yourself… over time. Sometimes a long period of time.  That’s part of the beauty of the journey. And yes, it often involves imitating the work of others.

“Nobody is born with a style or a voice. We don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are. In the beginning, we learn by pretending to be our heroes.  We learn by copying.‘ – Austin Kleon

You can learn design by copying.  

Did I really just say that??? 

HELL, YASSSS!!

You’re not copying to pass another’s work off as your own (that’s plagiarism, of course!)… But instead, you can imitate and copy in order to learn… to grow… and to eventually discover and create your OWN. 

When you find a design element you like… you hold on to it… and you create new and different ways of using it.

If there’s something you don’t like… you transform it into something that suits you better or you simply don’t use it.

Kleon also says, “If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.”

So if you’re imposing this barrier on yourself like I used to, stop.

Embrace influence.

Imitate.

Copy.

And enjoy every minute of the journey.

Until you find YOURSELF:))

If you’re in a creative rut, shoot me an email at kricia@kricia.com… let’s brainstorm together:)

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Kricia Palmer, MD, ASID | Doctor, life coach & interior designer

I’m Kricia Palmer, and I help women physicians let go of clutter and create beautiful, clutter-resistant homes so they can feel more peace, get more rest and be more focused.

What do you want to learn more about?

Create a home you love that fits YOUR style, so you feel relaxed, inspired, and enjoy every space in your home.