Writing About Not Writing
I can't face the blank page... partially because I have no face.
Hello Internet! Remember me? From before?
For all my gushing about self reflection, self care and creativity; carving out creative space and nurturing your inner bebe -- for all my preaching about confronting the blank page when you're seemingly drained of everything that glitters in you; when you're obscured and screaming in the lurid and looming woods of adulthood -- I haven't had much follow-through on the blog front lately, have I?
Recently, friends, I just can't. My thoughts ring around inside of me like rogue pinballs, but they don't light me up. They exhaust themselves within minutes, then head to my liver with their deadbeat brain buddies to sloppily commiserate re: their collective inadequacy. And all the while I'm twitchy. I am a human spasm. My fingers spark and short circuit and I know the cure, but the cure takes time -- it takes courage. My soul feels the way your legs feel when they need a nice, long run but you're too exhausted to lace up your pumped up kicks. It feels the way your dog feels cooped up in your studio apartment all day: gruff and growly about his containment, but bitterly resistant to playing fetch when the opportunity arises. Essentially, my imagination muscles are atrophying, but I can't bring myself to do anything about it but worry.
Obviously, I could follow my own advice and just write. Just draw. Just make some diamonds. But sometimes a fresh canvas is an insurmountable block. The only way you learn to trust yourself is through a history of showing up, and if you haven't managed to show up to your own projects -- if you haven't shown up to anything but work and the odd dentist appointment for a few weeks -- you lose that trust; you build that block higher. It would be insensitive of me to advise anyone experiencing such creative constipation (ew) to just write. Lucky for us, there are baby steps. Here are some ways that I tap into my creativity when I'm too afraid to face the blank page head on:
1. Let your bones articulate...something. Quick story: last night I accidentally went to pilates. Truth: I HATE pilates. I thought I was going to yoga and then, trapped on the mat like a sucker, I felt obligated to stay the hour. Anyway, I'm glad I did, because I picked up some poetry from our teacher. As she urged us to rest each vertebra on the mat, she said "let your bones articulate..." and then she trailed off. Isn't that beautiful? I'm only writing this post because I couldn't get the phrase out of my head.
To reiterate: pilates is #theworst, but articulate bones equate to movement with meaning, movement as yet another way to express who you are and who you want to be. Watch this Ted Talk on power poses; think about your gait, your gross new hair twirling habit #projecting, your posture and what they say about you. Tell a story with them bones... then write that story. Make it a good one.
2. Make something practical. I know practical is a dirty word around here. I hate sensible shoes, for example, even more than I hate pilates. But sometimes it feels good to make something that fills a need. Make your friend a birthday card. Refinish a hideous end table. Superglue your cuckoo clock back together. It's easier to start a project with an end goal, and it may guide you back to your creative core. (Not to be confused with your pilates core.) Give it a go!
3. Read. This book. This book. This book. This is almost cheating. Read about inspiration and become a vessel... for inspiration. Reading about creating makes you want to create and tells you how to start. Plus your head will swell with ideas. And we all want swollen heads.
4. Morning. Pages. Two pages, stream of consciousness. Write about the three dollars in your bank account and the dream you had where you put on a bald cap and danced with Billy Zane and maybe the best idea you'll ever have will smack you on the cheek or maybe you'll just write drivel and nonsense -- at least that drivel and nonsense won't clog up your synapses for the rest of the day.
5. Be nosy. If you have zilch going on in your life that's worthy of writing down/capturing on film/reinterpreting as a felted forest creature, ask your peers what's going on with them. You should do this anyway... because...politeness and very basic social graces. But also, people are fascinating! I will never tire of hearing about other people's habits, other people's dreams, other people's definitions of being grown-ass people. I can't make myself care about gossip or drama involving people I don't know... I just can't. But I want to hear about what you eat for breakfast and what you want to be when you grow up. (Feel free to comment, i.e. waffles/astronaut.)
6. Finally, maybe don't be so dramatic. Omg, I know. Do as I say... or don't. My point is this: if you let yourself get bogged down in your lack of creative output, you might have a tough time mounting that proverbial horse. You'll be fine. You're antsy, but you're still you. And evil, mutant brainchildren periods of non-production are part of the process. Don't worry about this as much as I do unless you plan to write about it. Ever notice how I only ever blog about exactly what I need to hear? Along those lines...
7. If you can't write, write about it. Draw a picture of your block. Maybe it's a trapezoid, Idk. Your creative block serves a purpose - tell yourself what you need to hear.
That's all, friends! It's almost the weekend! How do you unblock yourself? Tell me in the comments!
(ALSO, speaking of CREATIVITY SUPREME: one of my bffs, Michelle, is in the running to win Indiewire's project of the year. Vote for her film "Like Me" here, and read more about the amazing work she's doing here!)