We all know that waiting for inspiration to arrive is a poor recipe for success. Productive people are consistent. They adopt good habits and routines, whether the muse of creativity is whispering or not. Once they dive into their art or passion, a rhythm slowly emerges. And out of that some darn good work can result.
Other times, despite a routine and personal discipline, the mojo isn't flowing. Sometimes this is due to fatigue, hunger or family distractions. However, there is another culprit that just might be hijacking your creativity. This culprit can exist below your radar, wreaking havoc on the quality and flow of your work. The culprit's name is anger.
Often we don't realize the anger inside of us. It can fester deep down, simmering like a slow burning stove. We can go about our day and sometimes be completely unaware that it is there. And then, when we finally dive into our art or creative passion, we wonder what the problem is. Why we can't seem to do our best work.
I heard a splendid saying once: "Anger is like a hot coal. You can throw it at the person you're angry with, but you'll still burn your hand."
So what are we to do? First, we need to understand that everyone deals with anger. People will disappoint you. Unexpected indignities will ruin your day. Appointments will be missed. Someone else will get the promotion. No one gets to escape emotional turmoil and anger.
Try asking yourself how you're feeling. Do your own personal check in. Folks who slow down long enough to meditate often learn to spot and process underlying anger. I've found that taking my dogs for walks is a great way to relax and think. The time alone with my dogs allows me to focus on how I'm feeling. I more easily un-cover negative thoughts and frustrations.
Exercise is another way to burn off frustrations and any underlying anger. I find that evening runs or lifting weights in my home gym loosens me up, clears my mind and frequently improves my overall mood. Often, solutions to my problems seem to emerge.
Another great way to eliminate anger is to forgive. For some people this is hard. Getting back at those who hurt us can seem so satisfying. Except it isn't. Revenge quickly loses its novelty. It's much more powerful to forgive. It disarms the person you're angry with and frees you from that destructive, mental weight. Angry people often don't realize how exhausting it is to hold onto anger.
Yes, it's possible to harness anger and use it towards a productive outcome. But eventually you're better off losing the anger. And when you do, you'll likely start doing your best work.
The next time you have trouble with your art, writing or creative pursuits, ask yourself if you're harboring some anger. If so, consider adopting one of the above approaches to eliminate it. There are other solutions, such as seeking the help of a spouse, friend or counselor. Figure out what works for your situation and deal with that anger. You'll be happier and will end up doing your best work.