We all may wish to be more creative, but is it the preserve of the few, or do all of us have inner gifts? The fact is that most of us are under using our potential, and we can sense how creativity can add more quality and satisfaction to our life. But if we are all creative beings then why does it not always show up where we need it the most? Writers talk of being blocked. But who is blocking who? Why do we get stuck, give up, or worse, are even afraid to begin? It is as though we are standing in our own light, unable to see the shadow we create.
Writer's block is not just limited to writers; it can strike anyone confronting a blank page with a task in hand. 'Page fright' can paralyze the nerves until the mind shuts down. Some say this might be the interference of two types of brain function, the critic or the left brain. Page fright is much more common than we imagine. Dorothea Brande, one of the great writing teachers believed that page fright that is never addressed on creative writing courses, yet it was often the main problem.
If you have something to say and cannot even get started on it, consider that you may be standing in the way of your own artistic potential. Sometimes we need help to find ways to clear our path and find renewed energy to complete the work. Whether you are already a practising artist or feel it is a path you have not yet fully developed, hypnosis can help you to realign with your true self, find the key to your own voice, be reminded of your calling, regenerate and nurture your artistic self.
Block does not just come in one variety, there are three main types:
- Creativity dries up temporarily:
Just stop and take a breather, a drink, a walk, a chat. Usually this is not serious.
- Life gets in the way:
relationships, duties, work, responsibilities take over or sidetrack you so you abandon your project. Life is trying to teach you something here. Ask what can I learn from this? Use it as source material for writing.
- You are really stuck:
You stop completely, or avoid your project for weeks, months, even years. When you write a story, or express yourself freely, you need to expose things that are personal, so whatever this problem is, and it's usually not to do with writing at all, but something else, it has to be dealt with before you can proceed.
The tendency to perfectionism can also get in the way. Make space for mistakes and experimentation. Allow mistakes to be a source of learning, and your relationship with your work may become more relaxed.
Keeping Diaries and Journals
Many great writers and artists have kept journals and diaries. Writing is cathartic. It's a legitimate to talk freely to yourself without being considered stark raving bonkers. We need these dialogues with ourselves. The subconscious mind speaks a different language than the conscious mind, hence the importance of self talk, and improving the quality of self talk. In my experience, writing in your journal as personally and honestly as possible, can not just release blocks but can be a life saver.
I have found no other, easier method of self therapy than this. Here's where it gets really interesting though - in the eighties, psychologists and immunologists such as Glaser, Rubin and James Pennebaker in particular discovered that the physical act of writing, especially about difficult emotions, promotes a strong immune system. Not only does writing oblige the right and left hemispheres of the brain to cooperate - something worth doing - it also helps lower cholesterol, hypertension, stress, and promotes the release of endorphins. The point is that inhibition of thoughts can cause ill health.
A few rules to remember though: don't show your diary to anyone. Its value is in its privacy and regular uninhibited daily entries. Respect these rules and it becomes the ideal friend as it does not talk back or reveal your troubles to others. Keep it private and keep it regularly and over time, it opens a space in the mind that assists in pattern noticing, healing and integrating different aspects of yourself.
The Artists Way
This very popular method was pioneered by Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way. She emphasizes reconnecting with your source using 'Morning Pages'. This involves slowing down and getting in touch with your unique self by writing freely every morning before you do anything else in the day. Her method has brought satisfaction to countless thousands of people. Just start you day by just writing all the things that concern you the most. Gradually, this process restores your ability to reconnect with the true you.
The Structure of Creating
NLP Master, Robert Dilts, believed there is a structure, a method, or habit of mind that can be learned by anyone to ensure creative flow. He studied the exact sequence of actions that great creators such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Albert Einstein, and Walt Disney followed in their creative process. Often these creators did not know how they achieved what they did. Yet they followed a specific sequence which can be followed by anyone. Walt Disney, for example, had a system of changing viewpoints during his creations to make them the absolute best they could be. He would start from the Dreamer position, move to the Realist, then become the Critic - in that order. This helped to achieved multiple viewpoints and a greater roundedness to his work. Anyone can adopt this technique.
Once this sequence has been absorbed it can reignite the energy you need to fuel your own creative work. Remember, BEGIN is an anagram of BEING.
Finding Your Zone
Creativity is not just for writing the next great novel or painting, it can be a simple as writing a letter, decorating a room, finding an unusual solution to a common problem, or cooking dinner in a unique way no one has thought of or attempted before. We all do this yet don't feel we are particularly 'creative'.
This process is activated each time you begin to write freely. Just getting in touch with who we are again. Keeping a daily journal can have the effect of uncovering who we really are, and if we are in tune with our own metaphors and images, it can add another dimension to our lives. We just need to find that rhythm, find that flow which athletes call 'the zone'. This is your peak performance state and you act your best and even outperform yourself while in this state of inspiration.
Please contact Kieron for more information.
Cameron, J. (1994). The Artists Way. London: Pan
Dilts, R. & Epstein T. (1991). Tools for Dreamers: Strategies for Creativity and the Structure of Innovation. California: Meta Productions.
Pennebaker, J.W. (1990). Opening up: The healing Power of Expressing Emotions New York: Guilford Press.