So, you have a weekly newsletter and you’re at a loss for words.
Some 437 weeks of coming up with new and engaging topics, and you start to think, “Is the well running dry?”
It’s a creative pursuit, and you’ve managed to turn it into a predictable routine.
You’re in the habit of latching on to some little insight, epiphany, or folksy anecdote during the preceding week and running with it.
But sometimes you’re like “Ummmmm? Hmmmm… Let’s see, can’t rant about politics, need to be inspiring, what’s a cool motivational angle I haven’t covered before?”
Well, when that happens to you, (and I think you can guess who I’m talking about here), there’s only one thing to do.
“Prime the pump!” Just start writing and see where it goes! Substitute the word ‘writing’ here for whatever it may be for you. Doing art. Making music. Creating videos. Teaching classes.
There’s a lot to be said for momentum. If you’re hip to physics it has something to do with inertia and all of that stuff about how a body in motion tends to keep moving while a solid rock would rather stay in place.
It’s actually counterintuitive, (and I’m not talking about poorly designed coffee counters). Pop culture likes to portray the creative types of the world as these special creatures that hang around in their ateliers waiting for inspiration to strike. The lightbulb appears above the head, the tortured artist springs into action, and a masterpiece appears.
The reality is just the opposite. That’s why things like a solid morning routine are so important. You wake up. You put the water on to boil. You open the blinds and let the cat out. There may be toast or juice involved. Your tea, coffee, or hot beverage of choice is ready. Slowly but surely you come to life and prepare to face the day.
Words and action come later. Once you’re in motion. Being creative, especially on a schedule or deadline is much the same. If you hang back and wait for the muse, she may tease you and take her time, or worse yet, never arrive until you throw in the towel. However, if you demonstrate to her, (assuming your muse is a her), that you’ve got your sleeves rolled up, your apron, dance shoes, or equipment du jour on, our friend the muse will arrive, pat you on the back, and add the secret sauce you’ve been waiting for to the mix.
It’s weird how something ineffable and mysterious like creativity can operate in much the same way as plain old physics, but there you are. The idea the inertia behaves the same in both the physical and metaphysical realms is worth pondering.
Not to disparage the fine art of doing nothing. No, far be it from me to minimize the benefits of simply experiencing the present moment, meditating if you will, enjoying your favorite form of lassitude. No, the rejuvenating effects of a good reset are not to be underestimated. Personally, I prefer times such as this to come on the heels of completion, those periods after a big project is put to bed and and the slate is clear for what comes next.
Of course, your mileage may vary. Pay attention to what works for you, prime the pump when you feel stuck, and check your internal compass during your downtime to make sure you’re on the right track.
Remember, whatever you’ve got to contribute to the world and those around you can only come from you. So don’t hold back or give in to self doubt. The world needs what you’ve got to give.
Keep it light and keep it moving! Creatively yours till next Monday!
Director of the Dance First Association
Publisher of Conscious Dancer Magazine