Deb from Maine writes:
Roly, I’m an artist & writer as well, and creatively for the last few months, I seem to be in a waveless ocean, just treading water and going nowhere. If that has happened to you, what have you done to get past it and get things moving again?
Roly: “It’s amazing what you can do if you’ll just get started” said the Irish girl the morning after a serious night at the pub. Anyway…whenever that happens to me I try to shake up my routine a little. Routines are sneaky and there are a lot of things that can quietly assume control of your energy. Suddenly you realize that you’re spending all your time doing anything BUT writing or whatever you do artistically. Then it’s time to shatter the model. Something as simple as pulling your car over someplace and drawing what you might be looking at just then could lead you into a plan for a picture. Once that happens you’ll be unstoppable. Or let’s say that you never could really draw ears. Maybe it’d be a good time to find out what ears really look like and to get your way of drawing them incorporated into your trick bag. The idea is to almost mechanically drag your focus away from the billion things that can fragment your attention and to redirect that focus into creating. Isolation…if even for a few hours…is a key element. If you could really isolate for a long time…that would be pretty interesting.
Writing is kind of special though because songs and books (stories) are intangible and live in our minds and hearts. I can hardly imagine what it’s like to write a novel….probably the most serious business of all. I’d think that you would have to do the deepest kind of attention-paying to the things around you both visible and invisible to get what you need to bring your story to life. It’d be a great combination of knowing and feeling your characters. Hemmingway used to quit for the day as soon as he got really rolling with his story so that he’d be hard into it as soon as he sat down the following morning.
Anything you can do to preserve your intention including praying to the angels is worth something. But there’s this too…it’s possible that you need time to collect energy for your next piece of work. Looked at with no alarm…down time might not necessarily be a bad thing. During these lulls I sometimes resort to equipment maintenance or hanging out at the art supply. My watercolor easel is the first one I ever had from years ago and it’s constantly needing to be drilled…pegged…glued…refitted with wing nuts…and you name it. A couple of times this has led me to want to go out and paint. So I did.
PS…fight like hell against the three-second sound bite!