When the Going Gets Blocked, Can the Blocked Get Going?

I’m writing an e-book about busting yourself on your creative blocks so you can get your work into the world.

I’m writing it for you.

And I’m writing it for me.

Reasons We Get Creatively Blocked

There appear to be a number of reasons for being creatively blocked (aka writer’s block or artist’s block), including

  • external causes like a loss, death, or divorce,
  • internal causes like beliefs, perfectionism, or self-doubt,
  • other things like “second novel/album syndrome” and creative depletion.

It’s fascinating to study and to write about — and even to get blocked over. *grin*

Taking a Closer Look at Where Blocks Come Up

I found myself examining closely my own creative blocks today in my morning pages and noticed that I feel blocked when I start telling myself stories about things I think will be hard, or when I can’t “figure out” how to get “through” a certain part of a scene I’m working on in my screenplay or how to organize a certain section of my e-book.

It also happens when I get afraid that I won’t be able to do something I want to do in the style I want to do it in — for the screenplay I want it to be fast paced and action-filled, with the e-book I want it to be spunky and fun.

The dreaded inner critic rears his head and says, “What if you can’t pull that off?”

Stuff That’s Helping So Far

And what I’m noticing about this is:

1. Just taking the time to name exactly where I’m stuck is helpful because it tells me what I need to do next to get going again.

For example, with the screenplay, I want to get some help on getting through “the dreaded middle” and I also want to focus my efforts for the time being on the “battle scene,” which quite honestly sounds a lot more fun than figuring out how I’m going to GET to the battle scene.

With my e-book, I realized that I need to take a step back and do some of that organizational work in a brainstorming context — and that’s freeing me up to see it from a new perspective.

2. Busting my inner critic publicly (here) makes him settle down a little bit (though it’s also a bit embarrassing), but also writing about what I want to accomplish with the style and tone of what I do is also hugely helpful because it puts me back into the bigger picture perspective about what I’m doing.

3. Do the next thing. Zara reminded me today how important it is not to bite off more than you can chew; it’s easy to get overwhelmed and/or distracted thinking about how to market the e-book and whether or not people will like it before I’ve even crafted the darn thing.

But my real job is to do the next step, then the one after that.

And then the one after that.

Head Down, Eyes Up?

It’s funny, but so true, I have to remember to keep my eyes on the prize (my Big Vision) and keep my head down (doing the next thing) all at the same time. It’s that middle term thinking that gets me all gummed up.

Your Turn

I’d love to hear from you about:

  • What this sparks for you about your own work
  • How you get creatively blocked and how you get out of it

Let’s skip:

  • Feeling like you need to give me advice (thanks!)
  • Stories about how you never ever ever get creatively blocked

 

Coming Attractions

~> June 9th, 16th, and 23rd, 2011. My brand new Life Purpose Breakthrough Group event series. Details.

~> June 14th. Live recording session for my next broadcast of my Dreamification Radio show on Radio Lightworker. Join me to get your questions answered LIVE. Details TBA.

~> June 18th. Next broadcast of my Dreamification Radio show on Radio Lightworker. Details. Listen from anywhere in the world to this Internet radio show.

~> June 28th. Mark your calendar! And stay tuned for a special, affordable one-time class that’s perfect for anyone who wants to integrate a new behavior or new identity in their life.

 


~> June 10th. Celebrating my husband’s birthday!

~> MONDAYS. Working on my Right Brain Business Plan with my buddy Kris Carey.

~> FRIDAYS. Sacred writing days. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.

~> Celebrating the 4th of July with my family.

Comments

  1. hmmm I cannot even get going on the title of my e book, and some days I get inspired to write about the learning I got at The Sonia Choquette courses, and others like it, and the next day I want to write more about what I learned while doing my Graduate Degree in Psychotherapy, so I need a lot of help here Jenna…

    • Jenna says:

      George, thanks for sharing that with us. Sometimes I think it’s a matter of picking something and starting it. I like what Steven Pressfield says, “Figure out which one scares you the most and do that.” :)

  2. ok Jenna, thats a good answer, glad you looking well by the way, I have missed our phone chats the past few years, cant believe I have been with my girlfriend for over 7 yrs already. Hugs and Light. George
    PS remember we were on the phone & U suggested I persue a relationship with her instead of the girl that I had met at Sonia’s weekend, so what I am saying is that I did then what scared me most.

  3. Hi Jenna,

    Honest writing as usual. Your words flow like a creative river through my mind.

    I “guide” writers in my writing classes and often talk about writer’s block. (Trying to avoid using the word teach since deep learning only comes via self-discovery and enlightenment.)

    If you’re truly alive to the world around you, you’ll almost never have writer’s block. The electricity of life will draw the words out of you. When we block out our words, we’re blocking out our lives.

    My take anyway! Groovy article …
    Giulietta

  4. Cindy says:

    Morning pages and meditation definitely help to clear out the mind clutter. If I really need help, I can always turn to my large collection of books to give me ideas. Funny enough, I usually wind up picking just the book I need to read to get going again. Taking a break also works for me – walking, taking a bath, etc… When I clear my mind, then whoosh, hear come the ideas.

    I try not to think of stalls as blocks – I like to think that the Universe is telling me that there is another way to achieve what I’m trying to achieve. I usually get pointed to one of the activities above, and I am off and running again.

    • Jenna says:

      Breaks and mind clearing – yes! Those are awesome. I like your perspective about stalls, nice point.

  5. saqi says:

    Thank you Jenna, after reading what you wrote, I made my own list of where I feel stuck, and not only was I surprised HOW many items I wrote down, it helps me also know what to do next. I also felt overwhelmed by the big picture so the comment about doing the very next thing was very helpful. One way I have gotten unblocked before was doing morning pages, it took 3 months of it (along with doing the artist’s way) for me to have a breakthrough but it was worth it. Another way I get unblocked is by doing a meditation called ‘clearing blockages’ by orin (www.orindaben.com).

    • Jenna says:

      Nice, Saqi, love that you made that list and were able to find the very next thing. Morning pages have been amazing for me too. I’m curious about the clearing blockages, I will check it out.

  6. Mary Ellen says:

    “When the going gets blocked”
    Hi Jenna,
    THE MORNING PAGES sounds like something to try. I find I am soooo unique, nothing can help me. I have Depersonalization.
    Love how you want to help others.
    Take Care,
    Love your work,

    Mary Ellen

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