Writers block is something that I’m sure has plagued any and every creative person who’s ever lived; it is the anathema of creativity. Whether you’re a musician, writer or artist, it is more than likely a familiar beast to you; one that when it strikes, leaves you banging your head up against the wall between you and your state of creative flow like a baby throwing a tantrum.
What is writers block? As I see it, writers block is the inability to sink into a natural state of creative flow. It’s those long nights where you’re sat with your note pad working on your book, poem or song and writing feels like the most unnatural, forced chore imaginable – yet it is this feeling in conflict with your deep and burning desire to create, and get out of your head the ideas you instinctively know are lurking there… hiding from you, and taunting you. It is the words on the paper that seem to the writer to be the same as everything else that’s ever been written, the stark reality of uninspired nonsense staring back at you no matter how hard you try or how many times you screw up the piece of paper and start over. For the creative minded, it is a curse – it can be soul destroying.
As a musician, writers block was something that I found myself facing consistently but intermittently, and it compelled me to question why it was something that fluxed in and out of my creative states and what caused it to keep rearing it’s ugly head.
Having observed myself and my life in general for several months as I drifted between peak creative flow and the dreaded writers block, I started to notice a recurring pattern that seem to be the catalyst for inducing a road block to my creativity. It was my level of life experience, or, lack thereof. I noticed that when my life was full of adventure and rich with new experiences – good or bad – my creativity was plentiful and boundless. However, during periods of my life where I tried nothing new, was drifting through life doing the same old same old, it always resulted in the onset of writers block.
This was a really exciting realisation – it meant that I could control my creativity, and if it was lacking for any reason, all I had to do was think outside the box in how I obtained my life experiences. I would take a different route home from work, meet some new people or visit a new place. Thrusting myself into new situations forced upon me experiences that I’d either not had before, or that I’d not had in a while, and the thing about not having an experience for some time and then re-experiencing it is that because we are creatures that perpetually evolve and grow both in body and mind, the same situation experienced at a different time of life can result in it being viewed through a new lens and thus results in a new and engaging experience.
I mentioned that it didn’t matter whether the experience was good or bad, only that it was new and stimulates the juices of creativity. That is because good or bad is irrelevant, and whether a situation or experience is perceived as good or bad depends on the conditioning of the person assessing it – more on that in a previous blog post HERE. I’ve written some of my best songs and poetry about some of the toughest situations I’ve been through in my life, as I have about the good things I’ve experienced.
Where there is stimulation, there is the potential for creation.
The point this all reinforces is that we would be stupid to sleep through our lives – that’s not what life’s all about. Those who are risk averse, or who simply prefer to play it safe, are more likely to avoid the downs that can plague those of us who are more impulsive, but as this approach can protect against the hardships in life (and that is no guarantee by any stretch of the imagination), it also protects you from the rich experiences that can add so much value to who you are as a human being. If you dull and restrict the potential for experiencing the downside, you also inadvertently restrict the potential for the huge highs life can also offer. As they say, you can’t have your cake and eat it.
We must all do our best to see and reconcile that this life is really just a game, and it’s those who throw themselves into it, embrace it, learn the rules and manipulate them to their advantage that ultimately get the most out of it in the long run.
After all, what are we here for other than to play out part in helping the Universe get to know and understand itself and all it has created? As each drop is to the ocean, we are to the Universe.