How to deal with creative blocks (and bleaky lurkers)

LIfe Log, Off The Cuff October 13, 2014

Sometimes, it is hard to feel liberated, especially when your primary output is creative. Silly, isn’t it, especially when we pause to consider that the basic need to be creative is one of freedom and opinion.

Every so often though, the darkest of doom-laden shadows creeps under your door and lurks in your presence, just out of sight and always out of reach, averting your clutches until that opportune moment occurs so it can strike and swathe you in its weighty bleakness.

When times like these hit, your outlook can get pretty opaque and it is easy to become blinded by the stubborn nature of that shadowy cloak about your back. Nothing is good enough. Nothing will ever be good enough, and if that is the case, then why bother trying? Why bother wasting energy in trying? In fact, why even eat, because if you have no purpose due to your skills being disparate, and you no longer require energy or the need to make them work, and you don’t even feel like they ever could work again, well, why attempt bother with basic needs, right?

Feelings like these are easy to dismiss as irrational, but when you are stuck in a darkness, thought processes like these feel perfectly logical. When you emerge on the opposite shore, it is easy, and almost frightening to look back and see where that more shadowy path could have taken you.

Until today, I hadn’t written in a month. That is not a long sabbatical by any means (I didn’t draw for 3 years after I had my confidence in my art knocked at the beginning of high school)  but when you lose all joy in something that flowed so freely, it is incredibly easy for doubt to rise and purpose to fade. I began to question everything. If it took me six hours to write an ugly hash of 120 words – much of which was basic information sourced from Wikipedia – whatever made me feel as if I had any right to attempt to write for a career? If I had so many fragmented and liquidated ideas scattered in files, notebooks and the ethers of my memory, whatever made me think that I could ever start and commit to, let alone finish a project?

Creative blocks are scary. Life blocks are worse, especially when peers are pushing forward and grabbing that first rung of their ladder when you are still huddled and pondering exactly which ladder to pick. Avoiding those ladders, however, is far worse than climbing a rung or two and slipping back to the ground, and sometimes unbiased encouragement can come from the most unexpected of places, reminding you that you are good at something, and you could be better, if you invest the time.

And as any sufferer of creative block will tell you; when you feel you have nothing to express, write about how you have nothing to express.

PS. And yes, the creepy blanket thing from Dr. Who is the visual interpretation of my bleaky lurker!

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