“Anyhow, the older I get, the less impressed I become with originality. These days, I’m far more moved by authenticity. Attempts at originality can often feel forced and precious, but authenticity has quiet resonance that never fails to stir me.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear
How many times have you struggled to get something written?
I’m not talking about those times when you are dragging your feet and decide to do dishes instead of wrapping up a piece.
I’m talking about those times that it feels like your creative well has 100% absolutely and completely run dry. You are just staring at the white page, while the stark blankness sneers back at you mockingly.
“Ha. Ha. Ha. You. Have. No. Idea. What. To. Write. Here. LOL.”
Next thing you know, you are standing in front of a sink washing dishes. Plus, you’ve come up with the brilliant idea that you need to reorganize your entire dish cupboard, a task that will probably take you away from your writing work for at least two to three days straight.
You might call it procrastination, but it feels far worse, and you might wonder if you’re ever going to be able to write again. By the time you return to the keyboard (or blank notebook) to get your thoughts out on paper…
There’s a secret that will help get you through these moments (hours … days … or even weeks of creative desert-land.) Even better, this secret can re-energize you and even give you new ideas. So, give yourself a break and follow these easy steps to getting over creative brain drain.
Getting over the blank page
The secret to letting go of your creative struggle might seem counterintuitive, but stick with me.
Not everything you do has to be “original creative work.”
So often we are trying to force ourselves to create from scratch, especially in times when we are feeling particularly uninspired.
If we aren’t able to sit down and write the pieces we need to write, we think we need to write something or we aren’t “being writers.”
But what if we allowed our brains a bit of a break? Just like how sometimes the best way to remember a fact or a name is to stop thinking about it. Once you let your mind wander, your brain relaxes and your memory kicks in.
How to give your brain a break
One way to give your brain a break is to do something that’s creative in a different way.
Adult coloring books let you practice creativity without words.
Pre-made and templated creative kits let you make something fun and beautiful, but because the design work is done for you, you can let your brain take a short vacation and let your hands take over.
If you really want to write, try using writing prompts. There are websites and books with different types of prompts.
Be creative without being original
Or maybe, it really is all about that dish reorganization project.
Go on, maybe you can scrub down the whole cupboard while you are at it. Go online to get new shelf-liners, and really show off your new cupboard organization. Paint it to make it stand out. Hit the flea market to buy some colored glass pieces to show off.
Let yourself create without the pressure to create original words.
Get creative. Jumpstart your brain with something completely different, and see what you can create after that.
The new writing you’re able to create just might surprise you.
Like a longer message? This is from an October 2020 edition of my weekly newsletter, The Writing Rundown — and you can get in on that action if you want more! Just enter your information here, and I’ll be poppin’ into your inbox before you know it. 😝