Being a sponge

Any creators out there know that sometimes, you just get stuck and nothing flows. The words don’t come, inspiration is at a standstill and producing anything decent is about as easy as performing a self-root canal through your ear. About as pleasant too.

Everyone deals with dry spells differently, but for a long time I fought the idea that they even existed. I should be able to write at any time. I should be writing ten pages a day, painting at least weekly, composing music like I used to, taking voice lessons again, auditioning for shows, writing poetry. Creativity should be flowing from me like water and it should always be easy. Right?

Part of the perfectionist tendency is to think in terms of “should” instead of “could” and to completely disregard our limits. Creativity requires rest, time to think, and exposure. Sometimes you need to unplug the laptop, put down the paintbrush and pick up a book, listen to some music or go for a walk.

Plenty of writers say the best way to write is to practically glue your butt to the chair every day until you reach your quota, no matter what. Sometimes this work, usually when I’m feeling scattered because it helps me focused.

I’ve come to think of myself as a sponge: I need to absorb and soak before I can release anything. While I’m absorbing, I spend a lot of time reading, thinking, walking, listening to music and watching movies. This is a lot like deschooling. Sometimes I journal to organize my thoughts. After a few weeks of this, writing is easy. Learning to accept this process wasn’t easy, but it was important because I learned my limits and that I need rest. A dry sponge releases no water.

If you find yourself stuck or burned out, do yourself a favor and rest. Get good sleep, take care of your body, surround yourself with interesting things to look at, read and do. You’ll come back to life




Posted on October 18, 2010, in Creativity and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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