as someone who wishes to be able to call themselves a writer, i am often plagued with writer’s block. there is a story within me, sure, and it’s waiting to burst forth… and maybe that is the issue in itself. it’s waiting… and waiting… and waiting… and waiting. therefore i have to wait… and wait… and wait… and wait. i often tell people that my book/novel is a book/novel that i just am not ready to write, so i’ll just wait until i have more life experience, or until my vocabulary is more eloquent and mellifluous and my grammar is without fault, or until i go to university, when i’ll have time to write and take a class in writing – yeah, that’s it! i have to take a class in writing. but all of these are just excuses, and thinly veiled ones at that.
at the beginning of the year (in this post here), i made the new years resolution to stop procrastinating and to just do things. i mean, what’s the worst that can happen? you fail. whoops, big deal. one of my favourite quotes states, “try again, fail again. fail better.” without the attempt, their is no attempt at success, and i’ve managed to keep that mentality, even though i’ve visited the procrasti-nation again (i had the visa, and my mom always taught me don’t waste a visa… they’re expensive.) i mean, with my book/novel, i tried writing it, i really did. i got about three paragraphs, edited those until the ends of the earth, then deleted them entirely, tried again, and then ended up closing the word document completely – but the fact is i tried. and i’ll try again. eventually.
but in that process of trying and giving up but vowing to try again, it helped me get over my writer’s block, in a sense (it also showed me that i should consider a career in copy editing/editing…). so here are a few tips, from me to you, on how to jump over the creativity hurdle.
- whatever your craft is, find a new one for a while. that way, you wont focus so much on what you can’t do, so that when you get back to it, you’ll remember why you love it and it’ll be a whole lot easier. for example, i like to write. but then when i can’t write/lack inspiration, i’ll drift towards music or art. i cant draw for anything but i’ll doodle or something and it actually helps, or i’ll sing/play guitar, listen to music and get lost in that for a while. or abandon the arts completely for a while – exercise, do yoga, swim, meditate, pray, or just do nothing. give yourself a break so that you come back mentally renewed.
- in your new craft, pick a new medium. like in art – if you’re a painter, try sculpting, or textiles, or advert designing, or photography. or if you’re a musician, try writing your own music, or try learning a new instrument. and if you’re a writer who writes stories, dabble at poetry, and vice versa. expand your limitations, and you wont find yourself limited at all.
- give yourself tasks that you wouldn’t normally do. give yourself challenges and goals to reach – google art that you want to emulate or find writing challenges that you can do. i know that in school for english, we have to do creative writing exams and most times the topics are completely awful, but that’s sort of the beauty in writing; making something out of nothing. even if your writing is cliched, and least you’re thinking and it’s a baby step. writing, like all other arts, are honed by practice. your first works are kak, but the more you do it, the better you’ll get.
- seek inspiration from your favourites. they say, “you can’t be what you don’t see”, so surround yourself with your favourite creatives’ works. read some blogs, go to a gallery, go to a concert/listen to your favourite songs, reread your favourite books/poetry (even if it is only on twitter). remind yourself why you do what you do, and in our favourite works we often see pieces and reflections of ourselves. you may have a kakload of inspiration that dwindled in you or you forgot about it or your emotions, but revisiting your favourite things can reawaken them, even for the sake of artistic purposes.
- just do it. that’s literally it – just try. as a ‘writer’, its very easy for me to say “i can’t write, i have no inspiration”, but that’s bull. sometimes i find that just making myself write about anything helps you over that creative wall – like, just sit down and write something. i once wrote something so mundane, so absolutely pointless about little things, but in that, i was keeping my brain sharp. i was trying. there’s also that one writing exercise i like to practice: find new ways to say things; talk in metaphors. by doing that, things are only as boring and uninspiring as you make them.