Tag archive for » creative block «

Blocked? Make the Problem the Subject

Monday, 13. August 2018 1:53

Blogging and making art are not the same, but they are similar. The core procedures are nearly identical. The artist/blogger has ideas; s/he has to translate those ideas into some communicable form and send it into the world. Sometimes the artist/blogger has a notion as to whether the product is good or not; sometimes s/he doesn’t. The problem is, of course, that the artist/blogger has no idea what the audience is going to see in the product or say about what they see.

When everything is working properly, the artist and blogger have similar processes. S/he gets an idea, develops that idea, communicates the idea, edits the communication, and moves on to the next project. Regardless of how the audience might or might not respond, there is a feeling of accomplishment, of closure that makes moving forward easier.

And when everything is not working properly, the problems are similar. Creative block preys on both the artist and the blogger. There are just times when the painter has no idea what to paint, when no new ideas come to the choreographer, when the playwright stares past the screen, not knowing where the plot is going. The same holds true for bloggers; ideas don’t come, and for most bloggers the problem is exacerbated by deadlines, since bloggers often work on a schedule.

A problem comparable to creative block is the problem of too many ideas at once. Ideas come to the artist/blogger quickly and s/he has no opportunity to develop one fully before another arises and fights for attention. The net result is that no idea gets full development and the artist/blogger feels that s/he is running in circles. And there is no product.

What to do?  There are literally thousands of articles dealing with creative block and how to overcome it. So the how is fairly well documented; all the artist or the blogger needs to do is pick one or more of those methods which s/he thinks will work for him/her.

Dealing with too many ideas or the inability to fully develop ideas is more complex. The first step is to record the ideas as they appear, lest some of them get away. Just because they are recorded does not mean that the artist/blogger has to use them, but it does preserve them. And the act of recording can sometimes suggest a pattern of development or a reason to hold off developing that particular idea at this particular time. After that, it becomes a matter of scanning the recorded ideas to see what engages.

If that doesn’t work, the artist/blogger can always doodle or outline or sketch or involve him/herself in whatever form preliminary development takes. Sometimes that can get the mind working and development can proceed.

And if that doesn’t work, the artist/blogger can always make the project about the problem. Thus we have movies, plays, even musicals about creative block, for example Barton Fink, , and Nine. We have blogs such as this. The problem becomes the subject matter of the piece. It may not be the best solution, but it does break the cycle and allow the artist/blogger to actually create something, to produce, and to move on to the next project.

Category:Creativity, Productivity | Comment (0) | Autor:

Overcoming Creative Block

Monday, 22. February 2016 2:11

Creative block comes to all of us from time to time and can constitute one of the most frustrating aspects of an artist’s creative life. Despite the abundance of information on what to do (A Google search yields between 15,800 and 2.2 million hits, depending how the search is phrased), it seems that nothing we can do will break the log jam. Ideas won’t come. And, if a person is active in multiple arts, sometimes it’s only one that’s blocked.

This happened to me very recently, and it had to do with writing this post. Now you would think that writer’s block would be impossible given that I have a blog idea file of some 720+ entries; none of them gained traction. I tried all the usual things that have worked for me in the past; no joy. Finally, I decided that the thing to do would be to write about the block, and headed off to the shower to think about it (It’s where some of my best thoughts happen.) Suddenly the log jam was broken. Ideas just poured. I almost couldn’t get my hands dry fast enough to push Siri’s button so she could record them. (The downside of shower ideas is that sometimes, like dreams, they disappear when there is a change of state.)

Here are some of the ones that came to mind. Of course, some of these sprang from the others, but that’s how creativity often works.

  • The art show that advertised itself as erotic but wasn’t .
  • The only person at that show who seemed to know what the word erotic means.
  • The variety of arts gallerists and promoters that exist.
  • Niche artists, especially those working in very tiny niches.
  • The very popular single-subject artist I met who told me about changing topics when she discovered that her current topic sold better than her first one.
  • How one develops his/her own taste as opposed to adopting someone else’s.
  • The complexity of feelings that artists have for their past works.
  • Whether or how the vanity press differs from self-publishing.
  • Vanity galleries and all the names and plans under which they operate.
  • The real cost of avoiding paying for professional expertise.

But they didn’t stop then. All morning, even as I was drafting this, ideas kept coming. Of course, all of these will be added to that same idea file. Some are likely to appear here in the future.

Upon analysis, what I learned about overcoming artist’s block is a rather simple two-part approach. Whether it will work every time or not, I have no idea, but it constitutes a creative tool, and one can never have too many of those. So I intend to keep in my kit.

The two parts are: (1) resolve to create something immediately, even if the subject matter is the block itself, and (2) do that. It may turn into nothing more than an exercise that removes the block, or it may, as in this case, turn into exactly what it was intended to be—a piece about creative block.

This was not the conclusion I had envisioned when I got into the shower, but this one is far more useful. Next time you’re blocked, give it a try—and let me know how it turns out.

Category:Creativity | Comments (2) | Autor:

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