Greetings and welcome to the second installment of our “Overcoming Creative Roadblocks” series. In last week's edition, we shared some very useful, very specific tips for pulling oneself out of a creative rut from the always-entertaining Vegan Black Metal Chef. This week, I wanted to take it in a different direction. As I mentioned in the first installment, I reached out to a lot of people for this blog. The responses that I received were as diverse as you could possibly imagine. Some folks sent back tips and advice, while others got a little more deep and philosophical with their responses. It is the latter that I’d like to explore in this blog.
When you’re in the throes of creative despair, you’ll do anything to get out, particularly if your paycheck depends on your creativity. Despite the variety in responses that I received when I polled all of these talented artists, one unifying theme that I heard from nearly every respondent went a little something like this: “it’s really good to step away from the problem at hand for a moment to get a different perspective or a breath of fresh air or whatever you want to call it.” So, in the spirit of changing your perspective, I advise you to really read these two quotes—don’t just gloss over them. They’re both two very different takes from two very different artists on the same topic, but I think there’s something to be learned from both of them.
A little background on the artists: the first quote is from Henry Rollins, a self-described “nobody from nowhere.” However, as you may know, Henry Rollins is a pioneer in the punk music and spoken-word scene. As a gigantic Black Flag fan, I found Henry to be incredibly inspirational during my young, angry teenage years. The second quote is from Alfred Darlington, aka “Daedelus.” Daedelus is DJ and music production innovator. He, like his music, is truly one-of-a-kind.
Now that you’re a little more familiar with each artist, here’s their take on the question “How do you deal with creative barriers?”
“One of the things that helps me not suffer ‘writer's block’ or other ruts is that I have never considered myself a creative person. I am not a musician, that's Miles Davis. I am not a writer, that's Albert Camus. Unburdened by having to think that I am anything, I stay open. If someone says, ‘I'm a writer’ or whatever, that is of course for them to do but it also can lead to the work becoming an obligation, which unless you're very talented, might not treat you all that well. I don't get writer's block by the simple fact that I am not a writer. I am nobody from nowhere, so I get a lot done.”
“Creativity does not seem to me some internal force. It is instead something that graces all of us (artists just listen to it more carefully). But what happens when those energies are too quiet to hear? Writers block is a gift; a chance to get out of tired cycles and blurred focus. In telling myself this, I am trying to free myself from the creeping feeling of ‘I'll never produce anything ever again’ - always proven wrong in time, and the ‘Whatever was best is lost’ - really was it the best before? Or are we looking too much in the rear view? The block is simply the time to breath, renew, and move ahead cleared of history’s cruel entropy."
Pretty deep, huh? If you’d like to explore either of these artists any further, check out the links below. And, of course, good luck to any of you readers who may be fighting writer’s block this very moment! Hopefully you’ll find this series helpful! Be sure to stay tuned as we share other responses we’ve received over the coming weeks.