The necessity of writer’s block

January 18, 2007  in  Art as a profession       Related posts:  

Is “writer’s block” something that should be avoided? Is procrastination so bad? I wonder. Suffering through a creative block is something that every artist fears. But it is also so common, so prevalent, that it might just be an integral step in the process of creating art. As much as we hate it, I wonder if it can be removed or sidestepped without killing the creativity. We usually think these blocks are caused by us — by our lack of skills or inspiration. We kick ourselves for not being “good enough”, and we look at others who are blithely creating and think they must somehow be better than us. But maybe we are just looking at things the wrong way. What if instead of assuming that blocks are our fault, we assume that they are necessary. That they are a step we must go through if we want to create something of value. After all, the interesting thing about creative blocks is that they are only experienced by people who are trying to create. I know, this sounds obvious, but think about it — this means that being blocked means that you are creating.

Maybe instead of being a lack of ideas, our blocks are the birthplace of our inspiration. Maybe these fallow times are the quiet spaces that our creativity needs to in order to take form. Maybe when we try to avoid being blocked we are squandering our most fertile, most creative time. A gardener does not expect to spend all of his time actively planting or harvesting — there’s that quiet time in the middle where all he can do is twiddle his thumbs and trust that his seed are growing. Why should art be any different? (These thoughts were inspired by this post.)