There is a time and place for everything. Sometimes it’s great to look around and find inspiration in what others around us are doing. However, there comes a point when instead of inspiring us, it can actually hinder us creatively. Today, we’re going to tackle the idea of keeping on your creative blinders in your work, what it means, and when you should be doing it!
The struggle of creative blinders
I’m currently working on creating a brand new Etsy shop. This is something I’ve been thinking about for years, but when I’d get a great idea, the first thing I’d do was hop into Instagram, Etsy, or Pinterest. I’d start looking for things that were similar to what I was thinking about creating.
While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing for market research, what it ultimately did was fill me with a HUGE sense of imposter syndrome. As a creative, I’ve struggled with this for years! I even wrote an entire blog post about imposter syndrome last year. So you should check it out if you want to know more about what I’m talking about!
Paralysis of creativity
Instead of filling me with creativity, looking at what other creatives were doing led me down the path of comparing what I might do with what they were already doing. Comparison is a natural part of being human and I think we all do it to a certain extent. But what ended up happening for me was a complete paralysis of creativity.
Instead of being inspired, I became convinced that I could never create anything as good as those already creating. In my mind, there seemed to be no room for me and so, years later, I’m just now coming back to a place of trying this again, but this time with a different strategy.
As creatives and Etsy sellers, we walk a fine line with being original. Finding inspiration in the amazing work of others while remaining original with our own products isn’t always easy. What can often happen when we immerse ourselves completely in what other creatives are doing is that we either begin to pick up their style (not good) or lose all creativity because we assume we’ll never be able to create anything as good as what’s already out there. The latter is definitely not true. But it’s at this point, when we hit these walls, that we need to take a step back and put on our creative blinders.
Wear your creative blinders
Here’s the truth: we are all completely unique. And what the world needs more of is creatives that are willing to focus on what is inside of them and let that spill out. When we do this, it’s absolutely amazing the way creativity will start to flow! Even if we are making similar products, the way my brain creates that product and the way your brain would create the same thing will be vastly different if we allow ourselves the freedom to stop comparing ourselves.
It’s similar to becoming oversaturated in any area of our lives. If all you do all day long is browse Etsy trying to see what your competitors are doing, you’re wasting time. True creativity and flow comes when we begin to live out our creativity. It does not suddenly hit whilst slogging through Pinterest. Can you come up with an idea that might be good from doing this? Well sure! But what is even better is when an idea is authentically born from inside you and comes to life through whatever medium you choose to communicate with.
Preaching to the choir
I am writing this first and foremost to myself. I am 100% a creative who is now starting an Etsy shop and trying my hardest to do it in a super authentic way. Of course, I’m doing my research. Of course, I have to make sure I’m finding a niche I can fit into. But, I’m really trying to keep my blinders on creatively. I’m spending time brainstorming and becoming excited about products I can create originally. I’m staying away from looking at other products like mine until I have a solid foundation.
Once the foundation is in place, will I take a look around to see what others in my niche are doing? Yes! But, time spent doing this will be limited, and it will not be my primary source of inspiration. I want my inspiration to continue to flow from within me as much as possible.
Final thoughts on creative blinders
I want to challenge you today to take a step back and unplug if you’ve been feeling drained creatively. If you have the ability to set some time aside to simply dream about what you want to create, new products you’d love to bring to life, I encourage you to do that. Or if (like me) you’re just getting started on a new shop, be sure to guard how much you look around at what everyone else is doing. Be you. The world desperately needs what you bring to the table and not a version of you trying to create like someone else.
Happy selling everyone!