We all experience it at some point in our creative life.
Actually, we experience it throughout our creative life.
We call it "block".
Interesting word, isn't it?
Ever thought about why we call it that?
Ever considered what it implies?
Only things with movement, things that flow, can get blocked.
A road can get blocked.
An artery can get blocked.
A creek can get blocked.
Work-flow can get blocked.
A piece of legislation can get blocked.
Even players on the football field get blocked.
Because they embody motion and change.
And when things that move can't continue moving, we say they are blocked.
To say we have "creative block" implies that creativity is something that moves in us or through us. Or both.
That means in order to experience block, we must embody creativity. Just like an artery embodies blood.
This also means that something causes a block to happen. Some independent source.
I have written a lot about how the idea of harmony is superior to balance as a way of organizing and living our life (the creative one and the everyday one).
And I've reflected on the reality that all harmonies are built on root notes.
A few weeks back, I left an essay unresolved and pushed a question out to you to contemplate: "Is creativity self-generated or received?"
In this series of essays on creative block, I'd like to attempt to connect these seemingly disparate ideas. At the same time, I'd like explore the way you and I think about creativity and the root causes and impacts of it getting blocked.
In the healthcare world, there are two approaches to medical care: preventive and prescriptive.
Preventive care helps us avoid, or at least lessen, the devastating impact of disease or injury.
Prescriptive care evaluates our symptoms to uncover their root cause. Then it treats that root source in order to help us either eliminate or manage the problems it creates.
So let's circle back to where we started...
To get blocked creatively means that creativity has to be something that flows in us and/or through us.
It exists in motion.
And when that motion is blocked, it ceases to do what it's designed to do.
Creative block describes the absence of creativity.
When this happens, we instinctively move into prescriptive mode. We want to know what we can do to fix the problem.
We want the block removed.
Here's what I want to push out to you as we begin this series:
Why do we get creative block?
Something has to block our creativity, right?
Why does this happen? There has to be a logical reason.
I look forward to reading your ideas on this!
(And I'm praying to God that I don't get creative block while writing this series!)
(photo by Simon Forsyth on Flickr)
Keitharsis helps Creatives get and stay unstuck. New essays are published each Tuesday and Thursday. Save time and sign up here to get new essays via email.