Week 24 – Unblockentitice
“A creative block is a fear about the future, a guess about the dangers dwelling in the dark computer and the locked studio.” -Eric Maisel
As Artists, as Creatives, as everyday folk….we sometimes find ourselves with our face in The Block. Ideas are gone, there is no color that’s right, the music doesn’t flow, the words don’t make sense, our brain doesn’t seem to function, like when a word is on the tip of your tongue but your mind can’t grasp it. Creative Block. I can hear the sighs already, I actually just sighed myself! We all know this horrid experience, and we often feel so defeated we simply give up. Well, this week, I challenge you to learn how to break your creative block into smitherines! We’re going to work some quick and easy steps, we will all commit the easiest of them to memory, and we will all make a note to hang in our Creative Universe, so that the next time our Creative Genius is acting more like a Lump…we’ll know how to fight back!!
We already possess all the creativity that we need to accomplish the things that we want, but we must learn how to effectively unlock our creative mind when we are stuck. How does this qualify as a Creative Courage Challenge you ask? Because it takes confidence to face a challenge and to work through it…and where does that confidence come from – yes, from working the challenge, accomplishing your goals and growing your courage to build your confidence!
“Most artists have experienced the creative block. We get stuck in our work. We beat our head against the wall: nothing. Sometimes, it is because we are trying something at the wrong time.” ~Lukas Foss
So I’ve compiled a list of ways to unblock the creativity when you are stuck. These things related to ALL people, creative, artistic, and all those in between. People in general get blocked all the time…so let’s create some unblockentitice!
- STOP THINKING SO HARD – Creativity defies logic, it is not rational and it does not respond to left brain analytical processes. In other words, you cannot THINK yourself into being creative. So don’t try! Just stop thinking all together. Honestly, this is a great time for meditation, for clearing your mind and opening it up for inspiration! Sit.Silent.Breathe.Be. It works, I swear.
- THINK DIFFERENTLY – If you feel that the first idea is too abstract, and some will…then put all thought of the end result aside and find something pleasurable about what you are creating. If you are stuck because you feel unmotivated, that’s generally because you don’t feel like you are enjoying what you are doing. If it doesn’t feel fun, then figure out why, and then make it more fun! If I need to make 15 pairs of earrings that are basically the same…not so fun really. But if I give each pair a name or make up the person who is going to wear them or where they will be wearing them too…sometimes a different kind of imagination will make all the difference! Often times it is simply thinking just SLIGHTLY differently that will make it or break it! In this wonderful example from Concept Genius of how simply thinking a bit differently will make every bit of difference.
- THINK BACKWARDS – Yes, I am aware that the number one rule is to stop thinking so hard, and then the second was to think differently and now to think backwards. In my defense, “differently” and “backwards” are not thinking so hard! As in the Matrix Movies when the child was asked how to bend the spoon, he replied, you must realize there is no spoon. Here is a wonderful blog from Brian Clark called Copyblogger asking if Do You Recognize These 10 Mental Blocks to Creative Thinking, It’s a wonderful way to begin to realize you can “think backwards”.
- FORGET ABOUT IT - As my Uncle Guido would say! Truly, put it out of your mind, forget about who it’s for, when it’s supposed to be done, the expectations you have of yourself, the assumptions you are creating about how it will be received…all of it. Forget about it. Do something mindless if necessary – watch t.v., take a nap, distract yourself to allow your mind to reset…back to meditation, which for some is doing a task (mine is gardening) when I am gardening I’m not thinking about anything, just the weeds that need to be pulled the way the water hits the flowers and greenery, watching the bees….I get a lot of good ideas when I’m gardening. Sounds silly but it’s a great meditation for me. Which is why most of my angst for Creative Blocks come in the winter time….no gardening in the Southern Wisconsin in the winter!
“A creative block is the wall we erect to ward off the anxiety we suppose we’ll experience if we sit down to work.” ~Eric Maisel
- JUST DO IT – If not thinking about it doesn’t work, and thinking differently doesn’t work….how about your just jump In and see where it goes! Play with it, allow your work to evolve on its own without your directive, and just let it come to life! If you have just an “idea” of what you would like to accomplish and allow yourself to bring it forth without force, you may surprise even yourself with what was lurking behind that nasty block! So don’t worry about the outcome, just start and see what happens.
- TALK TO YOURSELF – Yup you heard me (or read me!) Talk to yourself; most of us do it anyway, but how about you do it on purpose and not feel weird about it. I talk to my components all the time … “What is it that you are hoping to be?”…”What do you want to be when you grow up?” …”Do you feel pretty?”…yep, true story. Sometimes they even talk back!! If you talk to yourself, instead of your work, sometimes you can spark a motivation… “I want to finish this chapter by the end of today.” .. “I am going to throw three bowls before I clean up my wheel for the day”… “I am going to write the chorus today, and the rest of the song tomorrow.” If you talk to yourself in this way, OUTLOUD, you may just motivate yourself enough to climb that block!
- DECLUTTER – yah, yah, yah….I know we’ve all heard it before; but it truly works! It is difficult, if not impossible to create and be creative in a space that is cluttered and disorganized. In an October post, I talked about how I had gone to my studio to create, and it was such a mess…my creativity turned off, like a light switch. I felt very defeated and disappointed; I was about to simply walk out the door, but the nagging that a project needed to be done held me in place. I slowly began to declutter (dare I say Organize) an area so I would have space to work, and it was inspiring! I found components I didn’t remember having, doodles of ideas on scraps of paper that sparked some imagination, and the unimaginable happened…my decluttering felt more like a treasure hunt, and before I was finished I was already charged with great creative ju-ju!! Try it, you’ll like it!
“Be regular and orderly in your life, so you may be violent and original in your work.” ~Gustave Flaubert
These things should hopefully unlock your block. The message here is to not give in and just give up, but to muster a bit of creative courage and on with doing what you love!!
My last piece of advice, and my last suggestion on the Unblockentitice is to simply PLAY….think like a kid, what did you enjoy doing when you were a kid? Make a list of some of the activities you truly enjoy, then allow yourself some playtime!! If you are not quite sure what that means, this article from THE CREATIVITY POST: Thinking of Yourself as a Child Can Unlock Your Creative Potential, then you’ll have a better idea! Or just for fun you might peruse this wonderful image from Copyblogger How To Break Out of A Creative Rut. Give yourself some time to enjoy your creativity; to laugh, giggle, play and have fun, it’s a wonderful side effect of climbing over that block! Something that you might find fun, even if not from your childhood is a fun block shaped book called Creative Block, full of ideas and suggestions to get the ju-ju flowing!!!
JeaneMargherite Meria McMahon Murray Schintgen
(yep, that’s my name, don’t wear it out!)
I would love for you to “check me out” in my other realms…..