I’m feeling stuck. It’s Tuesday evening and I need to write a blog post for Wednesday, my arbitrary, self-imposed deadline. I really don’t want to miss a week and yet I can’t think what to write. The last couple of weeks have been a bit of a struggle in terms of work/life/creative me balance. Events in my personal life are derailing most of my attempts to get work done and as for creative things… well, they’ve ground to a halt. The creative well is dry and no amount of scraping around at the bottom, hoping for something miraculous, is going to help me right now, to write this now. I need a quick fix.
I am fully aware that this is not an ideal situation. I know that I should have been topping up my creative stores with inspiring and nourishing activities, feeding my curiosity and paying attention to the little things. But we are all flawed humans, none of us is perfect, and despite knowing what we ‘should’ do, we often don’t manage it. I have a note in my diary to remind me to be kind to myself, so no berating today. Instead, what small act can I do to help? How do I unstick myself when there isn’t time to gently revive my flagging creativity? I look back.
I revisit old work. I remind myself, kindly and without judgment, that I have been creative before and so it will happen again. I give myself credit for the things I’m proud of, for the work I was truly satisfied with, the ideas that worked. I acknowledge these things. But, rather than get stuck again, as it is tempting to do when faced with the ‘successes’ of our past, I don’t dwell on the lack in the present. I try to look for the opportunity lying in the past. What were the ideas I didn’t have time to work on? What were the things I was obsessed by but never quite found a way to incorporate? What were the grand plans that I didn’t start or didn’t finish? In these moments are the seeds of something. And, helpfully for the creative who is low on mojo, they are ideas I have already approved! Starting here takes the worry out of choosing and of beginning, as it’s already been done for me.
In recent blog posts I’ve looked back at some creative writing I did over a year ago. Today I’m sharing the last piece of writing from that collection. In that project I took three makers’ work as the inspiration for three pieces of writing, exploring how objects can prompt a poetic response. The other pieces of writing took longer to write, and I went through a few drafts before I was happy. They were more considered and constructed. This poem came out of nowhere. I wrote it down and it was done. I didn’t alter a word, I didn’t fiddle with it. That so rarely happens and I remember it distinctly. That feeling, of creating something without even knowing how, is hard to explain, but thinking about it now puts me right back there in that moment. A moment of pure creative energy. I hold onto this. I enjoy remembering it. I wonder when I might feel it again. I hope.
a hop, a skip, a jump
of geometric joy
bouncing back and forth
between the bowls.
platonic solids, dipping down
inside the planes
the bright, bright hues.
Written in response to ceramic pieces by Sophie Southgate