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Monday 28 May 2012

Creative Disturbances: Exploring the Other Side

What disturbs you the most? What is the thing you think about when you can't sleep at night?

A good way to look at your creativity is to look at what is occupying your thoughts. Even if you can't put words to it, what is the energy behind it?

Maybe you can't write because you have a strong and powerful inner critic, or maybe it's because you're feeling vague and confused.

Rather than disown these feelings, take a closer look at them. Maybe you struggle with strong people in your life, maybe it's authority that troubles you. Maybe that's what you need to write about.

Or maybe you're vague and confused, but that troubles you because you look down on being vague and confused.

All too often we search for creativity as if it's just across the street, just out of our reach, as if it'll turn up if we keep holding on. If only we could get out of our heads.

Perhaps the ghosts of all the writers and artists who died painful drug and drink induced deaths were just trying to get to that magic place on the other side of the road. The place just outside of themselves.

Maybe we just need to look closer at ourselves. Whatever we think we're meant to be doing to be creative, so often it's the opposite.

Are you busy and productive but keep hitting a brick wall? Maybe you need to be lazy and quiet!

Keep splitting your mind between tiny projects that drive you insane? Maybe you need to focus on the delayed gratification of one larger project.

Find yourself exhausted due to your wild ambitions? Maybe you need to want for nothing and sit in a comfortable chair.

Whatever you think is right, I bet the opposite is equally valid. In fact, it may be the one ingredient you're missing.


  1. I love the premise of this...pondering the opposite.

    Relationships, of all kinds, are what keeps me awake. Then, I'm crabby the next day due to lack of sleep.

  2. Feeling like I'm drifting through my life keeps me awake at night. That and the horrible feeling that I'm not doing anything about it, boo.

    I went to a lecture on The Science of Happiness last night, and one speaker said - a little tongue in cheek - that what we think makes us happy, usually doesn't. So make that list of 5 things you like, and instead of doing more do the opposite! I know a lot of people who would put forward that happiness and creativity don't come from the same place, but maybe it's the act of considering (acting on?) opposites that helps...

    Shruthi, I have totally the same experience. But keep all my scraps of stories / characters / conversations / ideas that would be interesting in a box, rather than Word files. Every now and then, I go through and select a couple, or 3, or 4 and think up a new story.

    I don't always try and write it, because sometimes it's rubbish :) But mostly I find I can think through more definite ideas. What (imho) is my most interesting feature length story so far came to me this way.

    Word. Happy Wednesday everyone.

    1. LEAT's idea of keeping scraps in a box hit a chord with me. I used to do this (visual images for my art) and at college I learned about contextual notebooks, so now I paste all these postcards, images torn from magazines all these visual prompts. I always enjoyed looking through my "box" of ideas, this is even better. Not sure it would work for writers? But defo better to keep it in this state than Word files I think :)

  3. You always post what I need to read just when I need to read it. How do you do that?