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Elsa's Creativity Blog explores: creative stuck points, creative blocks,
JUNE 18, 2007
I've just been going over old drafts of openings for Zee's Cafe Cafe, and for In My Own, My Chosen Home.
So much was done. Then I got stuck.
Not always at the same place. I created a full sample for a virtual week at Zee's Cafe Cafe. That was 6 years ago. I got stuck when it didn't get funding, and i didn't have the drive to keep going.
Then I created more sample openings, more bits and pieces. Lots of stuck points. Which is best? Which is right? Especially when I like more than one, which should be used?
I remember that glued-stuck feeling from childhood, from rewriting scripts and stories at twelve, fourteen, sixteen.
It's been with me all my adulthood. It's easiest on a rough draft. I just write and write. It's also easiest on songs, spoken word. They flow out, and I very rarely edit.
But I remember thousands of stucknesses - on creative pieces, on idea pieces, on just about everything.
It's like being a child, a very young child wanting a mother's hand to cross the street - but there's no hand there, no sense of safety, security. Frozen with fear and indecision. I can stay stuck forever.
So for now I've put the pieces away.
Tomorrow I want to go back - tomorrow and the next day and the next - to tackle the pieces one at a time.
What has helped? Input, invitation, deadline, decision.
Input. A friend whose input I somehow resonate with - all of a sudden I'm moving. Or even someone whose input I recoil from - once again, I come to my own inner sense of what I want.
Invitation. A yes to the beginning of something. There's nothing quite like having someone say they like something, want more. I finished writing Caro's Quest because a publisher liked the part I submitted. I wrote the start of what became my doctoral thesis when someone said yes to something I wanted to speak about. This is so powerful for me - the invitation, the yes. I thrive on a yes. I go further and further.
A deadline. With a deadline, I decide even though I may have no sense if the decision is the right one.
A decision - the decision to try to move. This has sometimes been the least effective way of getting moving. I remember being stuck, day after day, trying to find a way to decide. One draft. Another draft. Still another. I was frozen in place, even though I kept trying and trying to find my way out. No movement. I needed a helping hand.
Sometimes deciding does work, though. On this site, I have made so many decisions - and have also often stopped trying to get something right. Okay, this will do.
On this site, I have also had input, over and over, sometimes freely given, sometimes given because I insisted. I need this, my inside voice would go, pushing me for input - I need this, or I will never move.
It's not just indecision that gets me stuck.
Other stuck points. Sometimes I lack the knowhow to go further. Today, going over old Flash files (Flash - web program), I was exhausted before starting. There's a lot I don't know about Flash. And there's a lot I didn't know, when I did what I did. At some point I bogged down, over and over.
I can remember this stuck point vividly just as vividly as the indecision stuck point. I wrote a film script as a child - I was twelve, childhood's end. No one in my neighborhood had a film camera. Even if they had had, I couldn't have gone far. This was in the time of 8-mm cameras - everything would have cost. Plus what would I have done with the film? Editing 8-mm (and super-8 and 16mm) is not the easiest thing, as I found out later, when I took some film courses at university.
So at twelve I had a film script in hand - and nowhere to go with it. I made a neat copy, sewed a cloth bag that neatly fitted, stitched the title of the film onto it. All those were things I could do.
But I couldn't bring the film any further. So the bag I stitched was in some ways like a coffin - the film script was dead, would not be given life. Unlike a corpse, the script did not rot. It just stayed - something I ardently wanted to bring to life, dreamed about bringing to life for years.
At university I got stuck at a later point. What do I do with the product? Where do I bring it? How do I get to an audience?
Part of this kind of being stuck came - and continues to come - from fear. I've so often been afraid of bringing work into the world - submitting it to a magazine, whatever.
Part of it comes from just not knowing how to get the work out - it isn't easy to get a creative work into the world. I have sent work out. Hard to keep sending when there are only rejections, or anyway, very few acceptances.
Recently the web has made easier to get work out - though it's still not easy getting the work noticed.
This creativity emporium is my latest attempt at getting unstuck. A million decisions. And a million attempts to reach out. Lots of asking for help, finding help, to get me past stuck points.
And with that,
As always, welcome into my world.
JUNE 18 , 2007
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