It seems like creative slumps are a dime a dozen while sparks of genius are rare and fleeting. After all, the stereotypical portrait of a starving, suffering artist rings true in a metaphorical sense, doesn’t it? We all are waiting and longing for that one great idea that we are sure will catapult us to success, but our creativity never allows for it to truly happen.

The problem may not be that you’re simply lacking luck or creatively stunted. You might actually be participating in some pretty bad habits that lead to creativity fallout.

It’s actually your fault if you aren’t feeling creative when you need to be — the difference between you and someone creative is that they nurture their creativity while you hinder your own. How many of these bad habits are you guilty of giving into?

Being Judgemental of Ideas

There is definitely a stage in the creative process where it’s necessary to look at your work through a critical lens. However, the idea and creative phases isn’t where that process should be put. During brainstorming and creative phases, it’s okay to take every idea seriously. Once you better form your initial idea, then it’s alright to critique it. Judging ideas too early on can greatly harsh your creative energy.

Fear of Failing

Again, creative brainstorming is all about throwing out ideas and running with them, altering them as you go. Because you’re tossing out so many different ideas it’s obvious that some will be losers — but you need to get those out in order to find a winner. However, some people are so afraid of failing that they’d rather not try anything or throw out ideas that that believe may flop. Remember, you can win without losing at least once.

Compare and Contrast

Say you’re an artist and you sketch out a painting. You look at your work and scrap the idea — what’s the point; it will never be as good as an artistic great?

Even if you’re comparing yourself to peers and not unachievable artistic standards, putting your own creative energy up against another person’s is a great way to stifle your inner creative monster. WHen you take others out of the equation and let that beast truly free, you’ll be amazed at the crazy creations you can come up with.

You’re Too Soft

Again, not every idea you come up with will be a winner. Once you take your initial idea out of the creative phase and begin to take it truly seriously, you’re going to one day run into criticism that comes from outside your own perspective. Criticism is something you’ll have to live with as a creative, and how you handle criticism can have a large impact on your creativity.

When you take criticism in stride or actually let it sink in and apply it, you nurture your creativity. Sticking to your guns and being offended that someone dare second guess your decisions leads to stagnation, which is creativity’s true enemy.

In short, you nurture your creativity when you give it room to grow. Allowing yourself to truly think and feel without shackles means you’re letting new ideas in and pushing better ideas out.