“Creativity thrives on small, do-able actions. This week dismantles procrastination as a major creative block. The key to a creative life is sustained, consistent, positive action. This is possible for all of us.”
(I’ll have to take your word for it, Julia.)
Inertia is a harsh mistress.
Ever notice how easy it is to keep going once you’re moving? And how difficult it is to start moving once you’re stopped?
That’s our good ‘ol friend Inertia at work. She’s a temperamental beast, that Inertia. But at least she always plays by the same rules so we know what to expect.
I’m looking forward to digging into this week’s chapter. It is exactly what I need right now. Procrastination and blockage have my logjam in an uproar. And that’s not a euphemism.
I’ve been overwhelming myself with doing nothing. The nothing builds and builds until it’s this unwieldy beast gnashing at my throat. Time to defang the monster, as I like to say.
When I’m engaged in a creative project, I tend to jump in with both feet, work like mad, become deliriously inspired (operative word being “delirious”), not sleep for a week, burn out, and abandon the project wholesale.
As a wise friend always asks me, “How’s that working for you?”
(Okay, you got me — it’s Dr. Phil.)
Apparently this week we’re going to learn how to appreciate baby steps as a method of overcoming that paralyzing overwhelm and practice sustained moderation in our art. Sign me up.
Task: Easy Does it, but Do It
“Most of us have many small areas where we could benefit from a little housekeeping. List five areas you could neaten up. What we are after with this task is the experience of using stuck energy in a productive way, however small. “
This task may not be the best advice for me since I just moved and at least one of the rooms and one of the closets (because I have more than one of each now!!!) are still in a state of disarray. More accurately, it looks like a bomb went off. But I’ve been working non-stop at settling in.
What I need is to do something other than housekeeping. Especially since I have OCD and once I start cleaning I’ll come to nine hours later, aligning the carpet fibers so they all face the same direction.
So I got out my folder of snippets and went to work making my previous journal’s table of contents (example below).
I compulsively gather out-of-context magazine quotes and headlines, as well as directionals from boxes and other found words. I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember, and no magazine is safe around me when I’ve got an x-acto knife in one hand and rubber cement in the other. I have stacks and stacks of torn out phrases like “it’s spring, do you know where your bloomers are?” and “Unblock your head.”
This is one of my all-time favorites:
I sat down at my awesome new table in my new crafty nest (I’ve decided to call it The Situation Room, which I heard used in an espionage film last week). I dug through the piles of quotes, searching for ones that captured each section of my last journal. “Rejoice and recharge.” “Things that shine.” “Spread some sparkle.” “Stop talking, start DOING.”
The sorting itself was a beautifully Zen process. When I’d finally chosen my handful of quotes, I went to work cementing them down and drawing the TOC. It was so much fun, and it’s been a long time since I got my hands dirty.
Strangely, when I stepped away from my little completed project, I got in front of my computer and wrote two blog posts, a BIG DIG email, and a few notes for the upcoming week’s Artist Date.
Absolutely bonkers, since I’ve only opened blank Word documents lately if forced at gunpoint.
It reminds me of that little blind spot we all have in our eyes — how sometimes you physically cannot see something by looking directly at it. You have to look away, focus on something else, and your peripheral vision picks up the missing information.
Creativity is like that. Sometimes you can’t look directly at your project, especially if it’s bugging you. You have to indulge in some other activity, absorb yourself elsewhere, in order to move it forward.
So go polish your shoes and put your receipts in order. I’m off to arrange some carpet fibers.