Thursday, August 13, 2015

Four Causes of Creative Block

I write every day except Sundays. The words come best in the morning when I'm excited about life (i.e. after I've woken up) and worst at night when the day has drained me. I look forward to writing. But there have been times that I've sat down to write and had nothing to say. Absolutely nothing. I could barely manage nonsensical sentences about what happened that day. Despite my pile of ideas to work from words would not come. That's an awkward, horrible feeling. You start to think things like, "What if I never have words again? Is everything I write as bad as I feel like this is? What if I never have ideas I like again?"

When I stop and think about it I realize these times come and go. They come and it's hard but then they leave and I have about five ideas a day. So I jot them down and pick one a day and go with it. 

These creative blocks are usually caused by the same problems. 

1. Physical exhaustion. One time I accidentally waited until bedtime to write after a day that we spent driving to Kingsport, visiting both sets of grandparents, and then driving three hours back home. I forgot that I hadn't written and you know what? I was exhausted. That was horrible writing. It was about nothing and it was hard to do. Exhaustion seriously strains brain power and creativity. 

2. Burdens. As much as I love my life it's not always easy. But I have something to do with my problems- I can take them to Jesus. When I do, I find I can put them from my mind and create. When I don't I find they are overwhelming and use all the brain space. I should not try to carry my problems myself; I am not strong enough. 

3. Lack of input. I have to be feeding my creativity. It's hard to find time to read but the time is there. I need to read my Bible. I need to read good books. I should be listening to podcasts and music. I should be writing down every idea I think of- even if it seems a little dumb. I should see pretty things as often as possible. Visual content is important and it can train your mind to look at life a little differently.

4. Lack of discipline. I usually have a topic in the back of my mind when I sit down to write. However, I've been working on assigning myself a topic and writing about that even if I don't feel inspired.  It's really pushing me in a good way. I've gotten some great ideas and blog posts from this method. 

When you don't have words or ideas keep your routine. Don't stop there or the ideas will die. They are on vacation but you're still working. When you force yourself through that uncomfortable thirty minutes of writing with nothing to say you are imprinting on your mind that it's time to work. You are teaching yourself to persevere; that you don't just write because it's easy or comfortable. The ideas will come back. Rest, read, and pray. Then make yourself work. 

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