I have heard of creative block so many times, or what some call “the inability to reach inner creativity”. Every artist, writer, and creator at one time has caught this infection. Let us take a stroll to look at this obstacle that stops the person’s ability to reach their most valuable resource “CREATIVITY”.
Before we start, I want to share a story I like. Once upon a time long, long ago, in a faraway kingdom, there was, of course, a wicked king (Da). That king was, as we said wicked, and one day he ordered his soldiers to push a big bolder into the middle of the road to block it. As ordered the soldiers did as they were told, and a watch was placed out of sight to record the peoples´ reactions to the obstacle. A politician passed by the rock; he gave a speech “why does the government not do what is supposed to be done”? Another politician, this time pro government, also gave a speech “praising the wisdom of placing this bolder as it slows enemy movements.” A trader reached the rock and, as he and his merchandize couldn’t pass, he took another road and traded elsewhere. Another person reached the rock, started cursing and managed to go around it. At the end of the day, a peasant walking back to his house reached the blockage. After examining it, he grabbed his tool and started breaking it. He worked all night and managed to reopen the road. The king´s men who were watching grabbed him and took him to the king, “Why did you open the road?” said the king, “Because I wanted to go home” said the peasant, thinking that he is going to be punished. But the king said, “this is what I need, a person who acts and does not give speeches” and made the peasant his grand vizir.
Back to the creative block, the monster that freaks everyone. As we all know, life is not easy; even if you are filthy rich, you still have to make decisions. Imagine you are a struggling artist, with prices going up, and an art market that is harder to break into by than catching a fly with chopsticks. Stress is the killer of creativity; stress to perform, stress to make ends meet.
Stress can be triggered by fear: “I am not good enough”, or an outer fear “why they are selling, and I am not”. Fear of criticism; “are they going to love my work?”. Fear of not delivering; “this piece is never going to be finished” or “how am I going to finish this?” Social media adds salt to the wounds; “Oh look at that, this is much better than mine”, “how can they paint so fast?”, and the peak of fear is when someone´s work you consider “bad” sells at a high price. You start doubting yourself; “what I am doing wrong?”. Comparing our lives or our works to others is human, but the road to eternal torment. Every human is as unique as their fingerprints; comparing works of art is blasphemous, because even if two works resemble each other, the emotion and the motive are so different.
So, how do we remove the block? I am not a psychiatrist, but through my experience I can say; change your routine. Simply, in the words of LaFontaine, “soyez toujours chacun pour l’autre un monde nouveau” - “Always be for each other a new world”. What I mean is, surprise yourself by doing something you have never done before. A small change can lead to great things. Learn from space; a small percussion by a man-made object of 610kg changed the course of an asteroid 160 meters in diameter and weighing as much as the Great Pyramid of Giza. Once you start chipping away at that block, you will see it can be easily moved. You are the peasant in the story, don’t give up - just start digging out of the routine.
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