I Don’t Want To Write This

A few months ago I set a goal to post something, anything really, to this blog every weekday. Some days this is a photograph or a drawing or a poem that I wrote. Other days I have the time to buckle down and put something together with a little more substance.

Lately, however, I’ve been so busy that I don’t have time to get my brain into “creation mode“. Work keeps me glued to problems and projects during the day and family responsibilities keep me cranking away until it’s time for bed.

This stinks because I’m one who writes about being creative, not getting stuck for ideas and inspiration and how to motivate yourself. I’ll get back into the swing of things but I thought it would be good here to openly admit that sometimes I stink at taking my own advice.

I need a reset. I’m not sure what form that will take but I hope it happens soon. Maybe I just need to go back and read some of my own blog posts

Can You Force Creative Work?

When I sit down in front of a blank piece of paper, it can become anything. I might sketch a scene, draw a cartoon, write a poem, write a joke or make notes for a book. But more often than not, that blank piece of paper stays a blank piece of paper.

Creative block is not something that happens to me once a month or even once a week. It happens almost every day. It’s almost as if when I wake up I have to make a choice, an analytical day or a creative day. Most days, by default, I have to make the left brain analytical choice. My day job is more important right now than poems or drawings.

In the evening, after work, it’s always a struggle to turn off the programmer and turn on the artist. But if I don’t do it, I’ll never get any of the things I enjoy done.  I’m trying to teach myself to switch between my left and right brain tendencies at will. This is more difficult than it might sound. It’s like your body going from burning carbohydrates to burning fat. There’s a period where you haven’t yet started producing ketones from the fat but you’ve used up all of the glucose stores in your body. You feel miserable and useless and just want to give up.

So to make the transition as quick and painless as possible, I usually try to jumpstart the process. This means reading someone else’s poems, looking through a comic book or watching a stand up show. Anything to spark an idea or give me a prompt.

Another thing that helps jump start the creative battery is photography. You don’t have to use a fancy camera. A phone will do. Just go through your kitchen or neighborhood and try to take a photograph that tells a story.

If the above methods fail, I’ll try freewriting. I’ll just write down whatever comes to my mind without filtering anything. This is often the most effective way to start getting creative ideas quickly because you’re entering into a diffuse mode of thinking where you are letting your subconscious do the thinking.

Whatever you choose, if it isn’t working, try something else from a different angle. Eventually you’ll hit upon something that will open up your mind.