Writer’s block. Being stuck creatively. Not feeling challenged. These are all things that can prevent us from moving forward with our writing or other creative goals in the new year and beyond. While it can be frustrating to face and work through these issues, it is by overcoming them that we can reach the next level of our creative development and become even better at our craft.
Let’s explore a few insights about this from The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.
Growth Can Be Hard But Necessary
When we hit a creative block, succumbing to the urge to give up and do something easier is tempting. After all, why agonize over a plot point or character’s dialogue when you could binge-watch a whole TV series while lounging on the couch? And while you might feel relief in the moment, you would regret your choice in the long run.
Most of us prefer the path of least resistance, but that doesn’t mean we should take it whenever it presents itself. And, believe me, in our modern age, these paths are everywhere. The next time you feel stuck, take the time to think through why you might be. What is causing the writer’s block? Is something on your mind preventing you from embracing your creativity?
Being patient with yourself and working through the problem instead of avoiding it will benefit you and your work. After all, “real progress involves growing and developing, which involves changing inside” (105). And you can only change if you try to work through challenges and not run away from them.
We can begin the process of “changing inside” by altering how we work through creative challenges. One of the best ways to do this is not to stop working when problems arise. Write your way through the problem, especially when you’re drafting a story. You have hundreds of options to play with, and sometimes, one of those will be the solution to your problem. But you’ll never get past what’s holding you up if you don’t explore these options.
So, the next time you get the urge to crash on the couch when a story hiccup occurs, allow yourself to sit down and brainstorm solutions instead. Just making a few small changes to your productivity – by actually being productive – will help boost your problem-solving skills and motivate you to move forward.
Time Stops for No One
It’s a hard truth that many wish they could change, but in the end, “you can’t save time. You can only spend it. But you can spend it wisely or foolishly” (109). Humans have become quite skilled at wasting time. From scrolling on our phones, binge-watching TV shows and movies, listening to another true crime podcast, or mindlessly looking at social media, time wasters are built into our culture. And they’re not going away anytime soon.
But you have the power to cut down, cut off, and cut out these time suckers and use your own creativity to be more fulfilled as a human. So, when you can spend your time “wisely or foolishly,” spend it wisely by working on yourself and your art.
Our days and weeks demand so much of us with work or school, kids or grandkids, pets, and errands that we can lose track of our own creative passions and goals.
Let this year be different.
I challenge you to give yourself one hour a day to do something creative. It can be writing. It can be photography. It can be art or sculpture. Whatever it is, give yourself permission to take 60 minutes for yourself and work on something you want to do. As time passes, you may find that an hour isn’t enough, so you work a little longer. Soon, you’ve worked and completed a creative endeavor thanks to giving yourself an hour to work on it each day.
Time is something you can never get back, but if you use that time to bring creative productivity and positivity to your life, it’s a much better use of your time than any of the time wasters mentioned above.
Change can be hard. It can be frustrating. It can be painful. But change can also lead to amazing outcomes. As you progress through the year and work on your creative goals, fight the urge to run away to something easy and safe when creative challenges arise. Instead, work through them and work to get to the other side of the problem. You’ll learn more about how to solve creative issues and become a better artist in the end.
It’s also important to utilize our time wisely and not allow our minds to become distracted by all the noise the world provides as an alternative to our ability to think and create. By carving out a little time each day for creative pursuits, we can give ourselves a great gift that will benefit us positively.
Happy Creating, and I’ll see you next time!