Overcoming the Cold Start

Passage(Please excuse me while I ramble about my issues with creative block.)

I also like to call this the great stall, or “blergfffpptt” on special occasions.

Sometimes starting things is easy. You get exited about something and are all over it like a hyperactive puppy on a brand new squeaky ball. OMG! IT’S SO SQUEAKY! AND IT ROLLS! HOLY CRAP DID YOU SEE THAT?! IT BOUNCES TOO?! EEEEEEEE!!!!

Sometimes, not so much. And sometimes jumping back into a once exciting project is difficult. It starts with “oh, that’s a neat idea, I should start that” or “I really should finish that project I started” and then turns into “except that project/idea is now a slathering fell-beast of despair”. At which point the only logical action is to scour the internet for articles discussing ways to overcome this imaginary wall, but instead you find yourself, three hours later, at the bottom of a funny cat video pit.

Don’t deny it. We’ve all been there.

Truth is, I don’t know the best way to push past this confounding illogical creative block. A method that sometimes works for me is to wave a dancing stoat (totally not making this up) in front of my brain, distracting it with something cute and immediately enjoyable in order to maul it from the backside with the project that I was trying to get started in the first place. For example, sketching out some tentacles or hedgehogs or tentacled hedgehogs. In a fez. I think this works because the momentum from little mindless doodles pushes me through the mental wall. Also, another reason to warm up before working on a project. Also, fezzed tentacled hedgehogs with bow-ties.

Alternatively, I just put on some battle-pants and charge flailing into the beast of despair, kicking it in the junk as I run by with my eyes closed. Honestly, that takes a lot of energy. I mean, half the time my battle-pants are in the wash and my aim really isn’t that good with my eyes closed anyway.

While setting the project aflame and chucking it though the nearest window (metaphorically speaking of course) is, technically, effective in burning down the creative block, it’s not all that productive. Although, there may be a point where a project needs to be put out of it’s misery. However, that’s another topic entirely.

All things considered, I prefer the dancing stoat method. However, because the human mind is a complex chaotic thing, there isn’t one method that always works.

OR MAYBE THERE IS? <cue suspenseful music>

Probably not, though. <sad trombone>

Part of this, I think, is because a good deal of my creative projects have no deadlines. “Oh!” I hear you cry, “What about self-imposed deadlines?”

Rubbish, I say. Balderdash and poppycock!

Does a magician get surprised by his own tricks? No. Does a ventriloquist know that the creepy puppet he’s talking to isn’t himself? No. Well… unless the puppet is possessed by a chatty demon, a very clever parrot, or is a sentient robot. The point is, I know they’re self-imposed therefore my brain is like, “Hey, I made that deadline so I can change it to whatever. Ha ha, me. Nice try. You really should know me better, me.”  Brains can be real jerks sometimes.

However, an actual deadline set by a distinctly not-me entity works pretty well, but not helpful on personal projects.

So, yeah…

To summarize, have some dancing stoats handy and make sure your battle-pants are clean. I think that covers it.

What methods work for you when faced with a creative block?

 

2 thoughts on “Overcoming the Cold Start

  1. I use the writer equivalent of the dancing stoat: I write one word, any word, it doesn’t matter what. It’s never the right word but my brain takes a look at it and somehow goes ‘that’s wrong, but you know what would work…’

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