“There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge.” *
We’ve all been there: Our energy and motivation seem to be flagging and our writing starts sagging: We need a boost — something to get our creative juices flowing again. Eric Maisel has made a specialty of working with creatively blocked artists in a range of fields and he’s written a raft of books on this theme. Here are two of his tips that may prove helpful:
1) Listen to your self-talk: Pay attention to the things you tell yourself and jettison anything that isn’t serving you productively — even if these thoughts are accurate. For example, you might be telling yourself that “Writing a novel is hard work” or “Selling a novel is hard work.” While both these statements are true, they aren’t serving you well. So come up with a better story to tell yourself: “I’m off to write a novel!”
2) Use morning time productively: According to Eric, the dreamier your mind is, the more creative it is. That’s why trying to write in the morning right after you wake up can be very fruitful. As he puts it, “Your brain dreams during the night, but it also thinks. We don’t get to make use of that sleep-thinking if we don’t turn to our work first thing. Make your coffee in a dreamy way. Then move directly to work.” My personal approach on this: I lie in bed quietly right after I wake up and just let my mind roam — often I get an idea or two that are very helpful for my writing. Then I get up and jot them down. Still, I might have to try Eric’s “dreamy coffee” strategy and see how it works!
3) Accept your mistakes: According to Eric, many writers get blocked because they try to perfect their work before they even sit down to write. As he observes, “They want to avoid making a mess on the page, but you actually have to make a mess, that’s the genuine process.” So true!
* Many thanks to the great Anne Alworth for sending me this wonderful quote — perfect for this post!