“That’s it,” I think to myself as I sit at my desk and contemplate the blog post I’ve been meaning to write for days. Determined, I grab my laptop and click on my web browser. “I’m getting this done. Now.”
I open up a blank document and watch the cursor blink, waiting for the opening sentence to hit me. I feel motivated. More motivated than I have in a while. But still, I can’t get the right words to come to me. I type something but then quickly delete it, deeming it not good enough. I don’t know why but I can’t seem to string a coherent thought together. What’s wrong with me?
Annoyed and uninspired, I slam my laptop shut and put the post off yet again. I reassure myself that I’ll write it later that night but (spoiler alert) I don’t.
I wrestle with this scenario on a routinely basis. In my two plus years of blogging, I’ve discovered it to be a nasty part of the writing process. You sit down with the intent to get a ton of writing done, and everything seems to be going in your favor. You’re in a quiet spot. You’re feeling energized. You’ve got plenty of free time ahead of you. But for some inexplicable reason, you just can’t seem to get a word to appear on a page.
And it all has to do with creativity.
More specifically, the worst thing about creativity.
For the record, let me first say that I love creativity. I mean, how could I not? As a blogger, I rely on creativity to come up with ideas and write posts. Without it, I wouldn’t be able to do anything on Currently, Lately or have even launched it in the first place. But creativity goes far beyond me. It is the driving force behind the world’s greatest discoveries and most dynamic innovations. We would literally go nowhere without it.
However, for as much as I love and appreciate creativity, I have to admit it has its drawbacks. The main one, my biggest gripe, is its lack of consistency. You see, unlike any other skill on the planet, creativity isn’t something you can improve upon with practice. You can’t scribble it down on flashcards and commit it to memory. You can’t repeat it to yourself until it clicks. Creativity doesn’t always come to those who work for it. Sometimes, even when you put forth your best effort, it will still fail you.
There is no tired and true method for becoming more creative. No mnemonic device, no learning strategy. Creativity moves in waves. It’s there when it decides to show up, and it isn’t when it isn’t. And that’s a really difficult thing to deal with because we can’t just sit around all day waiting for creative thoughts to materialize.
It also doesn’t help that I’m a planner, and that I like everything to be predictable and organized. If I had it my way, creative slumps would only occur in regularly scheduled intervals. (Can you imagine how wonderful it would be if you could get a heads up before your creative energy up and left?)
The world unfortunately doesn’t work that way (but a girl can dream, right?). We can’t control when we do and don’t feel creative. We can’t prevent those long, endless slumps from happening. But what we can control is the way we respond to them. Which is why, in spite of what I might dislike about creativity, I continue to strive for it anyway. Because there’s ultimately nothing more satisfying than navigating your way out of a creative funk.
How do you feel about creativity? Is there anything you dislike about it?