30 July 2012

The Creative Back Road: Overcoming Writers' Block Through Art

The creative person wants to be a know-it-all. He wants to know about all kinds of things-ancient history, nineteenth century mathematics, current manufacturing techniques, hog futures. Because he never knows when these ideas might come together to form a new idea.
~ Carl Ally

E
very artist I know suffers from stagnation jam now and then; a traffic jam on their creative journey. 

“My poetry sounds stale.  I’m bored with it.”
“All my music sounds the same. I feel like I’m playing the same chords, the same rhythm.”
“My main character is in a tight spot, and I have no clue how to get him out.”

I get writers block so many times I begin to doubt whether I really am a writer.  And I’ve heard the same advice: to get the pen flowing, you have to just write, every day.  I’m guessing it might be similar for visual artists, poets, and of course musicians and singers (the whole practice makes perfect and fake it ‘til you make it thing).

Go on ~ express yourself!


But writing the same lines, or a bunch of stream of consciousness page after page doesn’t always help if I’m stuck in a creative traffic jam.  And I hate sitting in traffic more than anything in the world.

Anything.

Take a Creative Back Road
When the highway becomes a parking lot, you don’t pull over on the shoulder and get out of the car.  Not only is it dangerous, you lose your place in line.  Instead, you ask your GPS to search for an alternate route. 

When I hit a creative jam, besides the normal alternate routes ~ walking, exercising, making dinner, talking to a friend ~ there are creative back roads I take to keep moving towards my creative destination.  If I’m writing, I try painting.  If I’m composing a song, I take a break and make a notecard for a friend.  If I’m stuck on the finding the right rhythm for a poem, I sing show tunes or folk music and dance around my living room. The point is to keep the dialogue between artist and muse going. 

Sometimes it's just a matter of reaching her through a different language.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

Have you tried expressing yourself in an unfamiliar medium?  Did it help you break through the creative block?
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