Create: Day 36
Creativity block? Quick fix.
There’s one tactic that’s head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to sailing past a creative block. It’s an idea that was championed by the great poet William Stafford, who died in 1993, and it’s simple and straightforward:
When you encounter a creative block, simply lower your standards and go on.
At first it seems counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? Why would you give yourself permission to do worse when things are already going badly?
Because, as this remarkable artist knew, perfectionism is the insidious partner of creative block.
There are other reasons Stafford’s a compelling role model for creatives. He was a generous teacher who taught at Lewis and Clark College in Oregon from 1948 until he retired in 1980. And still, he wrote sixty-five volumes of poetry and prose. How could he manage that? Because he rose every morning at 4 a.m. and wrote until 7 a.m. What a fab habithacker. We also love that fact that his first major collection of poems wasn’t published until he was forty-eight, and then it won the National Book Award.
So let’s say you lower your standards and you create a bunch of crap. Is that a mistake? No, it’s just part of the process. And after all, revisions will always be necessary. On the issue of mistakes, wiser souls than I have said:
There is no poetry where there are no mistakes. –Joy Harjo
A man’s errors are his portals of discovery. –James Joyce
Failure is an event, never a person. –William D. Brown
Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes. –Oscar Wilde
What do you first do when you learn to swim? You make mistakes, do you not? And what happens? You make other mistakes, and when you have made all the mistakes you possibly can without drowning–and some of them many times over–what do you find? That you can swim? Well–life is just the same as learning to swim! Do not be afraid of making mistakes, for there is no other way of learning how to live! –Alfred Adler
Create Month 2
What to do so far:
In case you missed a day, the reminders below are clickable.
Don’t put off creativity.
Use your limited experience with unlimited imagination.
Don’t worry about the destination.
If you’re stuck, lower your standards and go on.