Drop the Shoulds and Watch Your Creativity Bloom

Some of you may have noticed the little note I have over in my sidebar inviting folks to contribute to Bliss Habits. Well today’s guest blogger, Deonne Kahler from Life On The High Wire, took me up on my invitation and I couldn’t be happier. She happened to write just as I was putting together my plans for the Blogversary-apolooza and delightfully agreed to jump right into the fray! Generously offering a giveaway from her on line store  Journals and Notepads and sharing creativity wisdom we could all use.

"Bloom" by Sheryl Karas (click image for details)


You’re creative. You paint or write or sing or dance or design or make movies – but you’re stuck.

You have talent, and making art is part of your life. But lately, your art has slowed down. It’s not coming as easily as it used to. You’re feeling less inspired and more mired.

Here’s why: You’re thinking too much about what you should do, and not enough about what you want to do.

My recent example: I hadn’t played guitar for years, even though I used to be a singer-songwriter with a band and CD. I wasn’t interested in making music my career again but I missed it, and thought it would be fun to start singing and writing in my off time.

Despite that spark the acoustic guitar sat there, untouched and dusty. I wanted to pick it up, but didn’t. Why?

I don’t like to play acoustic guitar! If you don’t play every day your fingers hurt, it’s harder to hold down bar chords, and simply put, I don’t love the feel of it and never did.

But I told myself – that’s what singer-songwriters play. Joni Mitchell plays acoustic! Joan Baez plays acoustic! They don’t play electric guitar, which I happen to love, and which happened to also be sitting slightly behind the acoustic, untouched and dusty.


Of course singer-songwriters play electric. (Hello, Bob Dylan.) And I could too. So I sold the acoustic, dusted off the electric and bought a practice amp, and started playing, singing, and writing again. And loving it.

We often have these outdated ideas of what a creative life means, but if you’re feeling stuck, it’s time to look at those ideas and ask if they’re still working for you. Maybe it’s time to let go of the shoulds and start doing what sounds fun or exciting.

You “should” paint in oils, but maybe you want to do watercolors, or collage.

You “should” write literary fiction, but maybe you want to write paranormal romance.

You “should” practice ballet, but maybe you really just want to two-step.

To get moving again you have to do something new.
Here’s your homework:

  1. Look at where you’re stuck in your creative life. Identify one thing you think you should do, but for some reason can’t get around to. This is often something that’s admired by your peers or considered the norm.
  2. Picture not doing that thing. Would the world end? Would you go bankrupt? I doubt it. Consider what would realistically happen if you quit it.
  3. Think of something similar that seems fun or interesting. Something you’d do in a second if there were no restrictions.
  4. Now, tell yourself the truth: There are no restrictions! You can do whatever the hell you want, even the unexpected or unacceptable, as long as it’s the thing that makes you jump out of bed in the morning or stay up late at night.
  5. And here’s the most important step: Go do it. Play. Revel in your newly unleashed creativity. Make good art.

What should will you drop?


Thank you so much Deonne!

Deonne Kahler is a writer, road tripper, and mom to Sam the Wonder Pup. Sign up for her free webinar, “Game Changer: Start Living the Life You Want in 10 Minutes a Day,” at Life On The High Wire.

She’s offering a  terrific Giveaway for the Blogversary-apolooza celebration:  A “Bloom” journal from her online store, Journals and Notepads.

Bloom Journal


A beautiful selection! This smaller Journal’s beautiful artwork and thoughtful design will inspire you wherever you are. (160 unlined pages, 100% recycled paper. Lay-flat binding, foil accents on a hardcover, plus a ribbon marker. 5″ x 7″.)
How to win your journal:

1. In the comments below tell us what should you need to drop.

Bonus Entries:

2. In a separate comment tell Deonne why you’d like to win.

3. Stop by Deonne’s blog and leave a comment on One Sure-Fire Way To Be Happy.

4. Tweet the following:

I entered to win a gorgeous “Bloom” journal from @deonnekahler’s biz in @BlissHabits Blogversary #apolooza http://bit.ly/LZSH7l


We have a winner!! Congratulations Lynn!

13 thoughts on “Drop the Shoulds and Watch Your Creativity Bloom

  1. This is amazing! I have just begun to prepare a blog post on this very subject! Except that I think the word ‘should’ should be banned! On reflection, many of the challenges and difficulties I have encountered have been the result of ‘should’. I should be slimmer, I should be cleverer, I should be tidier, I should be nicer….. the list goes on. The whole game of comparison tells us that we should be better, doing things differently – as someone else dictates. So, I need to drop the comparisons and just be me. Ignore the ‘shoulds’ and do what feels right!

  2. Spot on Deonne,
    Your suggestion of creating alternative thoughts/images to overcome obstacles offered that little something extra that I find so cool about blogs like your “Life on the High Wire,” namely to imagine NOT doing something in order to break the barrier(s) and DO IT. For me, this is a great example of the power of paradox, thinking and believing the opposite of what our rational minds are telling us. I love this topic so much that I’ll be exploring it in depth later this year with a new blog “Conflict School,” (working title) to demonstrate how conflict is one of our best tools or weapons to overcome the Resistance. In the meantime, will keep listening in to LOTHW and Bliss. Cheers, Joel

    • Joel,

      Thanks so much for the kind words. I’ve been practicing that power of paradox with the blog, actually, in that I’m trying to do more of what doesn’t come naturally (a lot more back-end technology than I’m used to, for example) because smart, successful bloggers have told me it’s necessary for growth. The challenges have been both tedious and satisfying. It’s good to stretch our brains, even though we may bitch about it all the while (ha).

      Your blog sounds fascinating – please let me know when it’s up and running!


  3. I write for work, but never seem to find the time to get back to my creative writing. Reading this post got me thinking… although I love the efficiency of writing on the computer, I already spend way too many hours at a keyboard. Giving myself permission to be less efficient and to write the old-fashioned way makes sense.

    • Lynn,

      I apologize for the delayed response – just got back from a four-day Scampabout where I wasn’t online.

      I think you’ve hit on something with a change in your writing tool. I know many writers who say they can only write longhand, and I know that though I use a computer to write with (there’s no way I’d ever be able to read my scrawl), I do change rooms in my house depending on what I’m working on. My office for web content, social media, etc., but I move to the big green chair in my living room and write the more creative stuff there. There’s definitely something about triggering your creativity with a physical shift, and I’d love to hear how it works out for you.


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