Thursday, October 11, 2012

Creative Block

Friends, I should have blogged on Tuesday, and I did not. For that I apologize. You see, I've been nonplussed as to what the subject of my blog entry should be. Divine providence put my friend John DiGilio in my path yesterday, and I was lamenting to him about my ennui. It was clear to both of us that I'm currently suffering from some good old-fashioned creative block. John said I should just write about being blocked. And so I shall.

It happens to all creative people. You're going along, creating up a blue streak, and all of a sudden, someone cuts your power line. Stalled! The words won't come. The color's not right. The yarn's all knotted. You just can't bear the thought of another ronde de jambe. It's scary and feels never-ending, and we rarely talk about it because it's scary and feels never-ending. But there are ways to get through it.

I find the best way to deal with my creative blocks is to first acknowledge that I am blocked. This is an important and oft-neglected step. How can you solve a problem that you haven't admitted you have? This last bit reminds me of my Cute Cousin Roger, who, at the snack table at every family gathering, announces, "Hi. I'm Roger. I'm a grazer." I always applaud his admission, twelve-step-group style. But I digress.

So you've acknowledged your block. You've named the monster. Good on you! Now do something nice for yourself. Seriously! Buy some flowers. Have a cupcake. Take a walk. Go to a movie. It's tough to admit your imperfections! Have a treat!

And now clean something. Scrubbing -- or any seemingly mindless repetitive motion -- allows our mind to wander to more creative pursuits. Einstein lamented that he got his best ideas in the shower. I've been known to keep a dry erase marker in my washroom so I can write ideas on the  mirror when inspiration strikes.

Exercise is good at this point. A brisk walk or a swim clear out the cobwebs in my brain like nobody's business!! You might run or climb mountains or play badminton. Whatever floats your boat. Just get moving.

This next step is going to sound counter-productive, but please bear with me!! I'm a professional procrastinator, and I've learned how to be a functioning member of society anyway -- I know how to unblock!! Here it is. Ready? Don't allow yourself to create in the area where you're blocked. WHAT?? No, seriously!! Listen to me -- I know what I'm talking about! If, like me, you need to write something, crochet. Or dance. Or polish your nails. Sing Verdi. Sing Wagner. Sing the whole freakin' Ring Cycle! Do anything -- anything at all -- that's not remotely related to the area of your block. If you get the impulse to write, DON'T ALLOW YOURSELF TO DO IT!! I'm serious about this. Because sooner or later, the creative compulsion is going to get stronger. And stronger.  And, of course, eventually you'll run out of other things to do. And the compulsion to create starts feeling all invincible because it has won.

And finally, after a day or maybe two of not being allowed to write, you return to your computer or your notebook or your butcher paper and crayons. You return with the fervor of a soldier returning to a lover after a war. You embrace your chosen art form. And you write. And the block is gone. And you sigh a sigh of relief. And the blog entry about busting through creative block gets written.

So that's all the news for now. I'm working both of my jobs tomorrow, so this is going to be my only blog entry this week. I'm unblocked now, so next week we'll be back to two entries. Until Tuesday, Toodle Pip, which is British for Peace, Love and Yarn!!

No comments:

Post a Comment