March 18, 2014

Seeking Passion : When you are about to give up

Dear fellow passion seekers and creative souls,

I've been quite frustrated lately.

I feel creatively stifled. Artist's block? Blogger's block? I've spent hours trying to let my creative self out, but nothing has really come out. I have some ideas that get me excited, but my thoughts are scattered and I'm having trouble putting all the pieces together. Uncovering the true design of who I am turned out to be a lot more challenging than I anticipated. Seeking and following your passion requires patience, and you need a lot of it. And as you already know, I'm not patient.

All I want to do is to create things with a sense of liberation and freedom. Paint a blank canvas using my imagination. Decorate an empty space with personality and warmth. Fill this blog with creativity and inspiration.

The initial excitement of starting something new has worn off. The clouds of doubt have rolled in, and the rays of sunshine are now behind the thick gray clouds.

Uncertainty. Doubts. Not good enough.

These words keep circling around in my mind, while I try to cling to my hopes and dreams. Where did the sunshine go? Will it come out again?

Do you have cloudy days like that? 

If you do, you're not alone.

The voice of doubt constantly talks to me in my head. It's so sneaky that sometimes I mistake it for the voice of love and I almost give in. 

"Yuko dear, you don't have what it takes. Why don't you stop wasting your time painting and decorating and go clean up the powder room instead? You know your kids want to spend more time with you. You are huffing and puffing, but nothing is coming out. It's time to give up."

My mind gets foggy and limbs are numb. I feel paralyzed. What should I do? Is this voice telling me the truth? 

What would you do when you're creatively stifled?  

What would you do when you are about to give in to the voice of doubt?

Seek for inspiration?

Focus on the moments of sunshine and be thankful?

Cling to hope like your life depends on it? 


Well, I've tried all the above, but the voice still comes back to me, strong.  What should I do?

The good thing is this is not the first time I've had this struggle. Over the years, I've learned a few things that help me get through uninspired moments. I thought I'd share my secrets with you. 

1) Lock up your negative voice in the basement
Don't let the voice of doubt boss you around and tell you what to do. You are the boss. You tell the voice to back off.

Helpful tip: When the voice of doubt tells you to give up on your dream, imagine the voice belongs to someone you absolutely can't stand. Perhaps it's that girl you couldn't stand back in middle school. Perhaps it's that annoying co-worker who gets on your nerve. Just pick one person and pretend that voice belongs to him.

Every time you hear the voice of doubt talking, tell him to zip it. Tell the voice that he doesn't have control over you. A dark cold basement is where he belongs, not in your head. 

2) Create your own cheerleader.
Cultivate your personal cheerleader who speaks in your head. Every time you hear the negative voice nagging you, let the cheerleader speak up for you. Your inner cheerleader should give you the encouragement you need ("You can do it!," "You've got what it takes. Keep going!") until the negative voice dissipates and you feel much better.

3) Show up.
From my experience, waiting for inspiration to kick in doesn't work. Once you start pursuing your passion, you are either going to make it or give up before making it. It's important you show up every day no matter how uninspired you feel. The more you practice, the better your craft is going to be. You may not have the most creative or productive day, but showing up is the way to get out of a funk.
Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over,
it became a butterfly.
- Proverb
Creativity is a process. The creative journey itself is just as much important as what you create. All the sweat, blood, and tears are the proof that you are living a life of an artist. You are in the process of transforming into something you've never been and that requires hard work and patience. Let's not forget that you are about to turn into a beautiful butterfly. It's worth all of your effort.

So, I will pick up a brush and sit in front of the computer. I may not produce anything meaningful today, but it doesn't matter. At least I know inspiration will come back to me as I practice my craft. 

What do you do when you feel creatively stifled? 

What do you do when the voice of doubt speaks to you? 

Do you have any tips that work for you? Share in the comment?


  1. oh, dear Yuko, do i know what you're feeling! the newness has worn off, and the doubts are shouting. i needed to be reminded to lock up the negative voice and to embrace the process.

    i will be your IN REAL LIFE cheerleader and tell you that what you posted today is BEAUTIFUL!! you are doing what another creative person whose voice i'm beginning to respect said in a recent email i received (which i'll forward to you):

    1. focus on the passion, not the results.
    2. respect the process and the results will come.
    3. the work is the reward.

    you're probably experiencing a bit of winter blues too, and that effects creativity. when all around you is WHITE, it's hard to see color! sharing what you're struggling with is the best way to get past it and making yourself sit down and do something each day will also keep you from being paralyzed. HUGS!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging words, Jenn! It's great to know even an experienced writer like you goes through a period of blues. Being "paralyzed" is the best way to put it, and it can be frustrating. I love the phrase "the work is the reward" - this is the reason why we decided to pursue our passion in the first place :)

  2. Ah I keep writing a comment and it's disappearing right before I finish. Short story-yes, all the time. I try to focus on learning something new. Expanding my mind around new material helps broaden my point of view on other things.

    1. Sorry you had problems leaving a comment :( Hopefully it won't happen again! (let me know if it does.) I love your tip! I think focusing on learning something new will definitely help shift our focus. Great idea! - Thank you for sharing.

    2. I think it was the Blogger app on my's very temperamental!

    3. Oh it doesn't surprise me if it's my blogger account. Because I'm very temperamental! lol.

  3. I think the creative process is meant to wax and wane with moments of intense focus and moments of lack of motivation and clarity. Without both sides I don't think we could be very productive because they feed one another. What a lovely post Yuko.

    1. You are so right, Gam. I will have to learn to embrace both phases by putting them into perspective. Thank you for sharing your wisdom! I will have to remember this :)


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