Writer’s Block Have You Down?
Creative block is the bane of every artist’s existence, regardless of art form. I know the plight of a singer-songwriter all too well. On one particular day you can write a solid verse in under 15 minutes, and on another day you are one word that rhymes with ”love” away from pulling your hair out. Why? I don’t have the neuro-psycho-scientific answer for that, but I have discovered a helpful daily exercise called Morning Pages that is helping me free my creative mind and I am happy to share it with you.
Morning Pages is a daily exercise of free form writing meant to help the brain unload any negative thoughts, limiting ideas, or even simple tasks that need to get done, so that we can be free to create. I was introduced to this process by a friend who read The Artist’s Way, and we’ve been using The Artist’s Way workbook to go through the weekly tasks and writing prompts. (The book is not absolutely necessary for the daily exercise, but there are definitely some mornings when I need the extra push.)
Okay, here’s how it works: You wake up a half hour earlier every day and write 3 pages—anything and everything that comes to your mind. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? Don’t underestimate it, though. The challenge is not in the actual exercise but in the daily repetition of it, which allows us to dig deeper over time so that we can get down to the real reasons behind our creative blocks.
There are no real rules. You can make a checklist of things that need to get done for the day, or write out the range of thoughts floating around in your head. Sometimes, I make doodles in the margins, vent for a page and a half about some person that pissed me off, or relive a feel-good moment. I really love the early morning process but my friend Terri finds her morning routine cumbersome, so she has been working on what she calls “Anytime Pages” and fits it in whenever she can.
Creative blocks are those ugly, annoying thoughts that clog our brains to the point that we cannot reach our inner creative. Sometimes, these thoughts are the self-doubting inner voices that kindle a fear of failure or trigger obsessive perfectionism; other times they are the seemingly harmless clutter of to-do items flying through our brains trying to keep us on top of our busy, busy lives. The trouble is, we often ignore these thoughts instead of addressing them. The harder we try to suppress some thoughts, the stronger they fight to be acknowledged, thus making them bigger and louder inside our heads, ultimately creating major blockage to the thoughts and ideas we do want to let through. Morning Pages are a way to document our thoughts and allow our brain to let go of all of the clutter.
Be honest and be open with yourself. This is not for anyone else to read or critique. It is not intended to be a literary work of genius. It is your process. Commit to the process and find clarity for creativity.