Unstuck

I have wanted to blog this week, but have been wearing a lot of hats (my husband and I have both had an especially hectic work schedule.)

The highlights? A profound run-in with a kind one-armed man, a fish dying of old age, and today: a free Chick-fil-A sandwich + dessert coupon (do you know they have hot chocolate chip cookies now?)

I don’t like going days without blogging — in fact, I like to blog even more when I’m busy. It forces me to think on my feet, even if I don’t have anything in particular to talk about. It exercises those creative juices in my brain, helping me be more on-point in my workplace (as a creative writer at an ad agency) and it forces me to step out of routine and think about the little things in life.

But sometimes, when I am in auto-pilot mode, my creativity can get a bit… stuck.

Do you know how that feels? It’s not just for us “creative” types. Whether you’re trying to break that “What’s for dinner?” rut or redecorate your bedroom or organize the silverware drawer, we all need a little inspiration sometimes.

In a Success Magazine article that I read recently at work (ironically titled, “Get Unstuck”), the author, Patty Onderko, lists 17 ideas to help you cultivate your creativity.

There were some obvious ones, some interesting ones, some weird ones — and one in particular that I have always intuitively believed:

#16: Don’t buy into “writer’s block.”

“I believe creative block is a choice,” Henry says. [Todd Henry, author of The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice.] “I think it’s a mental trick we play on ourselves that goes something like, ‘I don’t know if what I’m about to make is any good, so I’d rather not make anything than violate my assessment of my capabilities.’ The artists I know who make really brilliant work also make a lot of not-so-brilliant work. It comes with the territory.” The point: Just do it. Pour yourself into the work until ideas start to come again.

And so, though I was tempted to make my own “obvious, interesting, weird” list about how I get creatively unstuck, it really just boils down to: just do it. Don’t feel like writing? Do it anyway. Not sure how to decorate the baby’s nursery? Just start. Bored with what’s for dinner? Look up a new recipe.

Humans have a tendency to not do something simply because we don’t feel like it. But then, “ah, there’s the rub” as Shakespeare would say. It often takes doing it to feel like doing it. Whether that’s exercise, creativity, kindness, or whatever.

I have a lot of people tell me, “I wish I were creative — I don’t know how you do that all day, just come up with ideas on demand.”

And I think: I may come up with a lot of ideas, but it’s because I have to do it every day that I sometimes hit a good one. Even with this blog, I rarely know what I’m going to blog about until I start typing. But once I start exercising my brain, suddenly it feels more in shape to think differently.

And when all else fails? Just browse Pinterest.

“To have a great idea, have a lot of them.” – Thomas Edison

3 Comments

  1. Very nice article! I very often have difficulty in writing my first blog; sometimes I write something but I don’t like it and end up deleting it that same day. What advice do you have for me to have more confidence in sticking to blogging? I would greatly appreciate any bit of advice you give me. Thanks and God bless.

    • Lauren

      Monica, my advice would be write as if nobody is reading it. Write for YOU — and then you won’t be so hard on yourself. Also remember that blogging is very personal, don’t compare your blog to anyone else’s — it’s your little space in the world to have fun with. So do that, have fun! As long as you’re having fun, that’s the most important part. :)

  2. Writing is like playing music: my son wouldn’t be much of anywhere with his piano and organ if he didn’t practice every day. Writing won’t happen if one doesn’t … write. It doesn’t mean everything one writes has to be of sharable quality – merely that, if one doesn’t write, one definitely won’t have any writing to share.

    Writing well … ah, well. That’s a neat trick, isn’t it? :-) Some seasons are more condusive to good writing than others!

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