I just recently was listening to an excellent podcast episode about the self. The podcast’s focus for this episode was on finding your true self, persona aside. The hosts discussed acknowledgement and how important it is to acknowledge who you are while you be who you are. There was an interview with a writer from New York. She discussed her struggles with writing. (So did Oliver Sacks in the same episode, and of course his segment was awesome!) This young woman was having severe writer’s block, as most writer’s do. She would barely make her deadlines, catch heavy criticism from her coworkers and supervisor, and felt that she was totally disconnected from her creative self. Until one day she began treating her creative self as a separate entity…as if creativity itself were alive and would find someone who was going to use it.
She began telling her creative self that she just needed some time and to please not find someone else to work through. I found all of this incredibly interesting. I started thinking back to memorable moments where I was at a wall and could not take a creative idea any further. Did I have conversations with my creativity? I did not. I think now I will. I can recall talking to myself about the work trying to brainstorm ideas, but never have I had a conversation with creativity. Never have I told creativity to wait just a little longer.
This writer, she continued talking about other artists who describe similar habits of talking to their creative side. Tom Waits is someone she talked about at length. It was very interesting to hear his perspective on songwriting. He is one of my favorite songwriters of all time.
So I present this idea to you. When you’re stuck, don’t blame yourself…but also don’t blame creativity. Invite the creativity to come back when it is ready to be presented to the world, whether its form take that of a song or a sculpture. Treat your creative side as though it were separate, because it just may be and you definitely want it to stick around.