This has been one of the most difficult blogs I’ve written. Ironically, I keep putting off finishing this essay on procrastination, and it’s making me crazy!
As with most things I do, it’s not a problem for me to get started on an idea. In this case, I gathered up my notes on writers’ and artists’ blocks, perfectionism and procrastination, and read through them, producing more notes as I went along. So much, in fact, that I don’t know where to begin!
Please forgive me for starting in the middle. I’ll circle back around once we’re rolling. Here are a few of my most useful jumpstarts. Rather than waiting to publish once I’ve perfected this, I’m following my own advice and simply moving forward. (That would be tip #1.)
Breaking a creative block is like trying to catch an evaporating dream. It’s a chimera that’s quickly disappearing around the corner. If you try to jump it, it will flee. Instead, become a shadow, glide up to it… does this fleeting vision remind you of someone you know or a place you’ve been? What can you recognize?
Put it on paper: words, pictures, anything. Keeping a journal is so important for recording wisps of an idea. You’ll want to refer back to your journals for other projects as well.
Take an idea for a walk. What’s on your mind right now? Carry it loosely as you get outside for 20 minutes. Observe what’s going on around you, and keep bringing your thoughts back to that image, musical phrase, quote or verse. Walking or running—provided you’re doing it properly—will relax your body and get the blood pumping, carrying oxygen throughout your body. There’s an equilibrium of the right and left hemispheres of the brain that will naturally inspire your creativity.
Relax, and let yourself be filled—inspired! The Latin root of the word is an infilling of the spirit. It’s respiration, breathing, for your soul!
If you don’t have any particular thought that you want to pursue, then be a tourist in your neighborhood: take your sketchbook and camera, and make a game of noticing the little things. What’s worth more of your attention?
Do it anyway! You call it ‘work,’ so look busy: pull out a writing/drawing instrument that’s been gathering dust, or use something from your junk drawer to create something new; If you’re writing something that’s not coming together, put it aside to write a flashback—a detail that won’t go into the book, but will give you more insight about your character. If it’s your art, then copy a master. The point is to DO something! You must move forward, even if it’s not in your intended direction. Side trips will improve your view.
This is a bigger subject than I can cover in one sitting. Once begun is NOT half done! I’ll let you know what else I’m learning as I go along.
For today, here are some drawings that I made because I needed the practice and didn’t have the courage to create something eternal.
What do you do when good enough won’t do?