There is an ebb and flow to all natural creative processes, which doesn’t mean that it is all easy and requires no effort at all. Knowing when to push and use effort comes from awareness of your own creative process so that you can back away from a knotty problem or an overly stressful situation which is actually limiting your creative ability. When does stress begin to limit you? Only you can answer that by becoming aware of your inner flow. Some people thrive on stress levels that would cripple others. If you give yourself permission to discover your own levels you can be optimally creative whilst avoiding unhealthy stress.
When you give yourself some time out, do something you love like going for a walk, playing with your children, having a coffee with friends, you are actually allowing the creative energy within you to simmer away. You don’t stop being creative as soon as you leave your desk or your computer, you just stop banging your head on the wall! Being creative is so natural to you that you cannot stop it. It doesn’t always require hard work or conscious effort. Unconscious creation is an innate ability like breathing.
So often the problem is solved easily and with an elegance that you could not have foreseen just a few hours earlier, when you come away from wrestling with it and return to it later with a clearer mind.
Some people need routines and structures to create containers for their creativity, whilst others need exactly the opposite. Only you can know what is correct for you by developing your awareness of your inner state and giving yourself permission to do things your way instead of by someone else’s book.