Dear Creative Block...

I’m feeling stuck, Yippee!

So… let’s be honest: since the New Year I have been feeling totally and utterly STUCK. The Artist Block in all its glory. And tonight is no exception: I’m on the computer right now (NOT in the studio) telling myself I should at least write something on my blog, which of course is a great excuse not to go upstairs and write something in my journal instead. If you’re a creative in any field at all, I’m sure this is something you can relate to, because this “stuckness” is 100% part of the creative process. And that’s what this blog is about: exploring my own process and sharing it, even the not-so-pretty but oh-so-interesting sticky parts…

Care to join me?

Laly Mille artiste

So now that I’m under my own microscope, what do I do? One of the tricks I always go back to is checking with my feelings. Always a good place to start. Let’s see… one of the things I’m feeling right now is… guilt. That’s for sure: lately I’ve been well aware of this dull, foggy little cloud hovering on and off over my curly head. But tonight I’m starting to feel I might as well try to make friends with it and find out what it has to tell me. And this, in turn, makes me feel… curious. Which is even sort of… exciting.


But not so fast: it feels scary too. Because I have no idea what I’m going to find out (and what I’m going to end up writing here). This is a live experiment! But writing on my blog always makes me feel that I’m not alone (since you’re here) and grateful (that you’re here). It gives me a bit of accountability and makes me feel determined to hit that dreaded “publish” button in the end. And that makes me feel… a little brave!

Wow, so many contradictory feelings: guilty and brave, afraid and curious…

Do you ever feel that way?

Ron said, “One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode.”
”Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have,” said Hermione nastily, picking up her quill again.”
— J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

The next thing I’m thinking of now is retracing my steps. Trying to find out how the stuckness started this time. My first impulse was to say it started with the New Year and all the wonderfully scary projects that are on their way (including moving house in March!) but that’s not really true. It started before that. Next I’ve been telling myself that it was because, for the first time in my life, the holidays were tough (see my previous post). I guess that didn’t help, but if I’m being totally honest, that’s not it either. So, what happened before that? Did some negative event take place? Worries maybe?…

Oh wait! I’ve got it! Something did happen. Something huge and…

wonderful and happy!

Laly Mille artiste

Say what??? Since when do good things get you stuck? Well if you haven’t read it already, I highly recommend The Big Leap. It’s one of the few books that are still on my shelf while most of the rest are already packed (and I’ve done a looot of packing lately… such a useful form of procrastination).

So anyway, the main idea is that whenever we reach a new level, hit a new goal, or when an outrageously beautiful dream comes true… right after it happens, we fall into some sort of self-sabotage. Which makes sense, since our left brain (not the creative half) is full of good intentions and always tries to protect us from change (change = scary). The author calls it the Upper Limit Problem. ULP for short. And lately, I’ve been “ulping” a lot.

Each of us has an inner thermostat setting that determines how much love, success, and creativity we allow ourselves to enjoy. When we exceed our inner thermostat setting, we will often do something to sabotage ourselves, causing us to drop back into the old, familiar zone where we feel secure.
— Gay Hendricks, The Big Leap
Laly Mille artiste

So two things happened that burst my self-imposed ceiling and limiting beliefs (it’s always so interesting and exciting to shine a light on these!). The first was receiving a Best in Show award at a juried show here in France (you can read about it here) when I had just made up my mind that it was my last and that my art was just not destined to do well in my home country.

The second was selling more art in a day than I did in years at an online auction. And I can tell you that this one shattered plenty of limiting beliefs about what it means to be a successful artist: some of these came from education, others from experience, and plenty were inherited from centuries of collective consciousness. And just like that, in the blink of an eye, they were gone! No wonder I’ve been feeling like my brain was freezing. I guess it’s going to take a little while to reprogram itself, get used to these new perspectives and embrace this new sense of possibility.

Because that’s the beauty of the artist block: there’s always something totally magical on the other side!

Laly Mille artiste

I’m so glad I took the time tonight to figure this all out and I feel like I’ve just taken a big step in the right direction (until the next block!)

And now, what next? Well, art journaling is the one creative practice that always helps me get back into the flow, so I know this is where I’m going to start. And if you’d like to join me, I have a free video series for you to welcome the new year creatively (click HERE) and my online class The Artist & the Journal is open for enrollment for a few more days: it’s all about finding your own flow and taking beautiful, brave new steps.

I’d love to see you there!


Thank you for joining me today

(and for sticking around!)

light & love,


PS: See, I’ve hit that “Publish” button, yay!


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