if you’re stuck creatively, this might help

Posted on August 28th, 2011

This week in Sunday Life I trust the process

 

I had dinner with a guy recently who dedicated entrée to telling me that all writers are self-indulged w*nkers. “You all go on about the pain of writing,” he said. “Plumbers don’t write about how hard their work is, you don’t read about ‘plumber’s block’.”

I’m a writer. I had to respond. First, I said, with the spine tingle of a good comeback, plumbers don’t write. “Perhaps they take out their frustration on an S-bend,” I suggested gently. “We know about writer’s pain because we read their work. “

Second, writing is a creative process. And any creative process – whether it’s painting or interpretive dancing or inventing a new S-bend wrench – is the expression of the human struggle to share our inner selves. Displaying our inside, or “true”, selves is all about standing out on the farthest limb, exposed and vulnerable, and saying “here!”. We all have, at our core, an important urge to do this, and yet at the same time a primal fear of it. Ergo, creative block.

Funnily, not long after I found myself at the Byron Bay Writer’s Festival chatting to a bunch of writers about the pain of the creative struggle. (Here’s a new collective noun for you: “a writer’s festival of whingers”.) Whether you’re a writer or wrench inventor or embarking on a big, formative project, you know this struggle. It’s an important one. A damn tough one, too.

There was consensus from most of the writers: just start. It doesn’t matter if you produce crap. From the crap, something always emerges.

The sublime singer songwriter Paul Kelly told us he doesn’t know how to write a song. But he’s written over 300. “I just start… messily,” he said. Walkley-winning journalist and novelist Caroline Overington and comedian Wendy Harmer both say they don’t know where they’re heading when they first sit down to write. “I only get direction once I’m in the mess of it, doubting it, shuffling it around,” confesses memoirist Julietta Jameson.

Stephen King famously advised in his book On Writing to churn a first draft fast – in three months. Then go back and polish. Ernst Hemingway said, “Write drunk, edit sober”. Start. Be wild and messy. Goodness comes from there.

This week I thought I’d reflect on this further and ordered a copy of Shaun McNiff’s Trust the Process: An Artist’s Guide to Letting Go. I think creative block occurs when we don’t trust this “just start” mantra. We want to think of the idea first; we stall until we do. But McNiff explains it’s in the process of moving the paintbrush or pen across a surface that ideas emanate. The process provides the forum for things to form. Process first, ideas later.

He refers to a carpenter’s “fiddling and diddling” – moving materials around until they find their place. Engage with things, he says, get messy and make mistakes, and new forms emerge. Even frustration and blockage is part of the process – they lead to the destruction of tired patterns. Trust this, McNiff writes, citing painters like Monet, Matisse and Picasso who created their best work from “slip-ups”, layering the paint in new ways.

During the week I reflected on my own creative process writing this column. I generally squiggle ideas around on a notepad. I write out sentences that I like. I connect them with arrows; the page becomes a tatty, scrawling tangle. I shuffle paragraphs around. And then I start to see a thread. And I add layers. And soon enough the column forms. As I write this, I realize that there’s another crucial factor to trusting the process: time. After twelve years of column writing, I (almost) trust my haphazard process because I allow time. I stall and get creative block when I think scrawling and “writing crap” is a waste of time.

Paul Kelly told the festival crowd it took him seven years to write “To Her Door” from bits of paper and tapes he’d recorded melodies onto. Leonard Cohan took more than five years to write “Hallelujah”, the closest thing to a perfect creation, in my mind. Neither gave up on the process. They sat in it and used it.

As Bruce Sprinsteen once said, justifying the six solid months it took him to write “Born to Run”, “Spontaneity is not made by fastness”.

*

 While researching this column, I came across this from Leonard Cohan on writing Hallelujuh. I found it liberating to know that great things can come from such a frustrating process. That I’m not alone….you?

“The only advice I have for young songwriters is that if you stick with a song long enough, it will yield.

But long enough is not any fixed duration, its not a week or two, its not a month or two, its not necessarily even a year or two. If a song is to yield you might have to stay with it for years and years. ‘Hallelujah’ was at least five years. I have about 80 verses. I just took verses out of the many that established some sort of coherence. The trouble that I find is that I have to finish the verse before I can discard it. So that lengthens the process considerably.

I filled two notebooks with the song, and I remember being on the floor of the Royalton Hotel, on the carpet in my underwear, banging my head on the floor and saying, “I can’t finish this song.”

“They all take quite a long time. And its no guarantee of their excellence. I have a lot of second rate songs that have taken even longer.”

 

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  • Paul

    Brilliant insight into the work often involved in the creative process Sarah. I never knew that song took 5 years to write which makes me love & respect it even more.

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  • http://tranquiltownhouse.blogspot.com Kerry

    You have no idea how wonderful it was to read this. As I sit at the laptop trying to write a short story for a competition deadline that looms next week, I’m content to let it settle into a next year thing if that’s what it takes. Hallelujah indeed.

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  • http://www.inspacesbetween.com Rach

    Awesome article and uncanny timing… just got in the door from a long walk where I listened to 2 podcasts – interviews by Cheryl Robinson with Julia Cameron of The Artists Way fame and Natalie Goldberg, author of Writing Down the Bones. They both spoke of the same thing regarding the creative process, just getting something on paper, the way they write and so on. In their own ways they spoke about self-doubt that creeps in when you’re writing and ego etc. Anyway lots of great points to take away from these two podcasts and I think you’d enjoy them — you can download both for free in iTunes (in Podcasts, under Health – or you can search them).

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Rach, I’m going to download both of them. Thanks for the suggestion! Perfect timing for me, too.

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    Rach Reply:

    Enjoy Sarah! X

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    Miss Jodi Reply:

    I paint and have for over 15 years. It’s pretty much the same thing ‘just getting something down on paper’. I had an awesome drawing teacher in 2nd year art school back in the day and he always said ‘you can only work with what you have on the paper in front of you.’ therefore no point in thinking about the end product or what you are going to do. This has stayed with me always and I just get into it most of the time. It’s great to understand this process, and appreciate how others use it in whatever medium- visual art, writing, music.

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  • Teha

    Gee, I bet he wasn’t invited back to the shed for coffee! What a wanker (hope you have more sense than to go out with him).

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    Mia Reply:

    Did this douchebag know what you did for a living before the dinner or was it a blind date? And did the date make it to main course?!

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    hmmmm, i won’t say too much. but let’s say he pivoted his comments from his reading of my blog.

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  • Levi

    You’ve just rehashed a column from last year http://www.sarahwilson.com.au/2010/02/because-its-ok-to-take-your-time/

    Think your dinner date got it right.

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    Laura Reply:

    The article you linked wasn’t a Sunday Life column, just a blog post.

    Nothing wrong with Sarah expanding upon one of her blog posts for her Sunday Life readers.. particularly since it was written a year and a half ago!

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  • Jillian

    Yeah, just a re-hash. Even using the same quotes and text! Lazy.

    Not alot of the claimed “hard work” being a writer here in re-hashing this topic. I don’t know any plumbers who can go around and charge clients twice for doing the same job!

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    Miss Jodi Reply:

    Hey, Levi and Jillian
    Thanks for the extra info and your insightful observations. I checked out that link you posted for everyone to see and I’m really thankful that you did as there were some things in it that were not in today’s post. I’m a massive fan of The Boss and any kind of information about his creative processes are interesting. No matter how many times we hear about it ( which isnt very often) Just also wanted to say thanks as well, Levi for bringing this to our attention too because I thought this post flowed on really well from the original one with more in-depth ideas and apart from a couple of similar references and quotes from the same dudes it was actually very different. All relevant as far as I can see. Oh, except your really ill mannered comments equally expressed so eloquently by Jillian. I sometimes wonder when I read these types of comments why people go to so much effort to try and discredit someone. Did your mother not tell you if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all?
    And just one comment that springs to mind that I read this week that was written by a great Saint:
    ‘let us not spare ourselves. We should criticize our thoughts, words and deeds as we criticize others’
    I found it all really relevant and interesting, Sarah. Both articles. Thanks :D
    Hope your weekend is awesome

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    Levi Reply:

    I am entitled to express my opinions just as much as anyone else who reads the article. Every week I read Sunday Life and Mia Freedman continues to write a fresh, thought provoking and innovative column. I flip the mag over a few pages and I get a sense of deja-vu.

    Oh & btw, I didn’t set out to discredit anyone. All I did was provide honest feedback. Perhaps there is another great Saint who can explain the difference.

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    Miss Jodi Reply:

    Certainly honest feedback is relevant when used with a little kindness and further elaboration on the issue……anyway :D moving along….
    Hey did anyone pick up on the irony of The Plumber’s words ‘you don’t read about plumber’s block’ …..uummmm isn’t that exactly what you, dude! Unblock the blockage? Get it? That’s bloody funny. Or maybe it’s just my sense of humour :)

    Melanie Reply:

    haha..yes, got that play on words!

    Jillian Reply:

    OMG. Miss Jodi, Wilson fan-boi or what!? Maybe Wilson herself, again, if only you people really knew, lol!

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    Levi Reply:

    Come on Jillian, what should we really know?? I dying of curiosity now.

    Miss Jodi Reply:

    The implication suggested here is that the person who wrote this is Sarah herself. I’m pretty sure that unless Ms. Wilson is currently in far west NSW and has spent the last two weeks mustering sheep in a rusty old landcruiser and offsiding in lamb marking duties, I can safely say I am a real person commenting here. I am a painter the rest of the time, so I have a fairly good grasp of the creative process.
    Also, last time i checked, this week in fact, i believe Ms. Wilson rides a push bike not a black V8 ute.
    I was a bit curious about the ‘fan boi’ thing. Call me hillbilly but I had to look up the meaning, that’s a new one. Since I can really appreciate a wide range of processes as well as the medium I work in, I guess you can call me that :D…..Knock yourself out.

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    hmph. i’ve never been called lazy before! I guess i feel since this is my blog, and they’re my ideas, I can build on and extrapolate on them if i want.

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    Georgie Reply:

    Yeah, I agree Sarah. Levi, haven’t I seen another similar comment from you (or maybe there’s just a few people like you hanging round here). I really don’t know why you bother. You are like one of those people who writes in to correct ridiculous newspaper mistakes (it wasn’t a blue plastic bin, it was a red plastic lilo, and she didn’t trip, she fell. Please get your facts straight etc etc) Yawn. Go away. This is Sarah’s blog. Personally, I wouldn’t mind if she posted a variation on the above once a week for a year. For this writer, it’s a wonderful thing to hear, no matter how many times. Why don’t you do something more interesting and then come and tell us about it.

    And Sarah, I’m sorry. I don’t think being a public figure means you should be up for this kind of response. I am sure you know how to handle criticism, but I don’t think anybody needs to handle rudeness.

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    Stephanie Reply:

    Good grief! I’m with you completely, Georgie. Don’t people have anything better to do than try to be mean? The current piece is much more developed. Sarah went back to an idea to develop it further…the creative process in a nutshell. And as a Canadian and ex-Montrealer I thank you for the reference to one of our greatest poets!! :)

    Mathew Reply:

    Skitch them Sarah….. I can’t say I’ve ever heard of a lazy writer before, something is always on the blackboard of their mind plus most writers seem to have other commitments as well……..derrrr!!!!!

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    Mathew Reply:

    Jillian, don’t you think there might be people out there who might be interested in seeing these articles who haven’t yet? I am one of them & furthermore the feedback, from the readers of the said articles, is always different in some way, that’s what I find interesting!!! Sorry to knock you. …………Love Mathew

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    Monkey Mia Reply:

    I’m having a little trouble understanding the above, honestly.

    Brene Brown has multiple posts on vulnerability.
    Gala Darling has possibly hundreds of posts on self love.
    Leo Babuatu has HEAPS of posts on de-cluttering.

    The reason I go to these blogs in the first place, is that I will get new information about existing ideas. If these ideas matter to me, then new information on them is something I cherish. If those ideas dont matter – then log off. Easy. Also, I have seen people post THE EXACT SAME POST, word for word, that they posted years ago. Always accompanied by, “this post originally aired on X/YY/ZZZZ date, and it is just as relevant now as it was then.” Which I LOVE, cos it exposes me to writings which may be new to me and are definitely new to others who weren’t aware of that blog at the time, or didnt log on that day. It’s not a bad thing in the slightest.

    Most importantly though… the bit where Sarah said its my blog and I can do what I want? Yeah, what she said.

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    Tom Reply:

    Grow up for god’s sake – ‘it’s my blog so I can do what I want’! Listen to it, say it aloud, it’s childish and downright embarrassing. You’re not 10 years old anymore, you’re supposed to be friggin’ adults so cop some critisism, constructive or not. You put it out there to the universe then expect some feedback whether you like it or not.

    What an embarrassing bunch of enablers and sycophants.

    The first thought I had when I read this article was ‘here we go again’! Been there, done that!! God forbid I have an opinion and guess what – you mightn’t like it.

    Monkey Mia Reply:

    I think Tom stands for Time Of the Month. :)

    Ava Reply:

    My critisism to you, Tom (after all you are publicly expressing your thoughts so it is my right, no, my DUTY to critisise you…) is that maybe you’re missing the point. Try re-reading the repetitive articles?

    Lou Reply:

    Thanks everyone for the entertainment. Love it!

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  • Caitlin

    Especially like the article on Leonard Cohen, thanks Sarah! Did you know he is a Zen Buddhist monk? Such a lovable and gifted man.

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    Monkey Mia Reply:

    He is? Wow, I didnt know that! Thanks Caitlin. :)

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  • James

    New topic please!!

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  • Jan

    Sarah, I know you’re a journalist but do you sometimes get bored writing? I heard a podcast with you recently and you metioned you’d like to get into radio. And now with your new show, perhaps you have outgrown print media. It happens in all careers.

    When you do write from the heart, your articles shine :)

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  • Kylie

    The idea that anyone battles with writer’s block just the once, discovers it happened to The Boss too and is then cured is ridiculous. Reassurance that it happens to everyone, all the time (or at least annually!) is encouraging and inspiring…especially coming from someone who has managed to carve out a successful existence writing for a living.
    Sarah, great column – may the force be with you!

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  • http://oneaprilmorning.net Laura

    Thank you for the reminder Sarah! I have been feeling discouraged but your column has helped me to get back on my feet, writing wise.

    I don’t have a problem starting. My problem is getting the job finished, after the initial excitement and inspiration fades. But I think the same principles apply… keep brainstorming, scribbling, spewing ideas onto a page until it eventually gels together to become somewhat coherent, with some sort of conclusion. Eventually!

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  • Melanie

    Sarah, I have been reading your articles on sugar and notice you said fruit was a no-no. How come then in your ad for EYS, you are holding an apple? I’m a bit confused now on what you are saying is good vs bad (or is the apple just a prop, in which case the bunch of celery (?) sent a clearer message).

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    Melanie Reply:

    Actually, I just saw in the ad for EYS (in which you are sitting on the table), the amount of fruit you have on display. Grapes in particular in high in sugar. I know it’s only a promo but when you educate your readers that most fruits are bad, it seems like a contradiction to them promote it for your series.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    I don’t disagree. But I don’t get to control the promos. And we don’t advise on the show for everyone to go off fructose.

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  • http://www.mikewilde.com mike wilde

    Write on Babe ..

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  • http://mrmathew1963.blogspot.com Mathew

    This bloke showed how ignorant & inexperienced in life he has/is, he should not be ridiculed for this but made aware how wrong his opinion is.

    I’m a semi illiterate Carpenter/Joiner who ridiculed teachers for being lazy overpaid wingers………..I no longer think that because of a job I had, as a tutor, teaching numeracy/literacy & woodworking to disabled people. The work involved in this was quite overwhelming at times; I am no longer ignorant of teacher’s plight.

    You could imagine how hard it would be, for a semi illiterate person, to write down ones knowledge & experiences so that other people can understand what is written but that is what I am now doing ….so now I understand a writer’s plight.

    My Method: I write down what I feel/think firstly & then I reread it, change words, lines & paragraphs around until I get something that, I think, other people can hopefully understand. You might have an idea in your head but most people have no idea how hard it is to put it down on paper & that’s not including prior research.

    The pat on the back, for me, is that some of what I’ve written is being applauded & studied by quite knowledgeable people; to my surprise……….The message here is….. It takes experience not to be ignorant…… Love Mathew

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  • Adrian

    I agree with Jan on this one Sarah. The writing seems somewhat tired and repetitive at times. No harm intended.

    I think you’re more a “3D person” anyway – not just glued to writing but also an excellent speaker and video type.

    Just my thoughts anyway. Blogging isn’t really a great money spinner or career from what I can see. I think you’d be great on radio based on your Sunrise spots.

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    Mia Reply:

    Yeah, perhaps a talkback radio show. Sure your audience would love the live interaction, as would you no doubt :)

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    KK Reply:

    That’s interesting you say that. As I prefer SW in print :-)

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    Maddy Reply:

    same. i can’t watch sarah on tv. too awkward.

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  • Mia

    I didnt know that about Hallelujah. Not Paul Kelly. Im deeply touched that you have revealed a new element about two songs that I love Sarah, thank you. :)

    Great article also. Dont listen to the naysayers, I really enjoyed it.

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  • http://rachaelblogs.co.uk/ @rachaelphillips

    Sarah, great article…I have recently found your blog and its now one of my daily reads. I often have writers block. Usually because I have a crazy idea that I thrive on pressure and leave my work right up until deadline to do…

    I *always* write everything out manually first, I’d love to be one of those people who can just sit in front of a computer and fire out content, I think we all have our own creative process that we go through before getting things done. For me (like you) its writing notes, words and doodling.

    I hope you don’t mind me posting these but I’ve two blog posts on writing that your readers may like. The first is:

    The Eternal Struggle: http://wp.me/px6LZ-2Y

    The other…

    So you want to be a writer? http://wp.me/px6LZ-U

    Rachael
    x

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    Mathew Reply:

    The one thing about Sarah’s blog is it allows people to share info & thoughts, this is what you have done Rachael……. you gave a bit of yourself to others so they may benefit through your wisdom. Love Mathew

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  • Lisa

    According to Wikipedia, the Sunday Age has a circulation of 225,400. Let’s just say of this, 200,000 read Sunday Life. Furthermore, add the number of people who only read the article via this blog, and I think you’d find the 5 ‘non favorable’ comments above are not even worth thinking about.

    Anyone who writes publicly must expect some type of criticism from time to time.

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    Lisa Reply:

    I forgot about the other States! The Sun-Herald has a Sunday circulation of 442,650.

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  • Jane

    Don’t let any of the over-critical bozo’s deter you Sarah. Your ongoing expansion on the established themes within your blog continue to be inspiring and though-provoking. I enjoy the “take your time sentiment”. To quote the great man Leonard – “there’s a crack, a crack in everything… that’s how the light gets in”. I think sometimes we need to let life weather us a little before the cracks form, and hence the light can flow in.

    Many thanks for the thoughts.

    Cheers.

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  • http://www.annasnextadventure.blogspot.com Anna

    Thanks for this post Sarah, it’s particularly timely for me as I sit down to write a particularly difficult assignment for my Masters. Away with the procrastination and on with the ‘start’ … thank you.

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  • julie

    A great piece! Love this. You’re the real deal Sarah!

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  • Heather

    I recommend Bird By Bird by Ann Lamott for all writers. It will make you want to write day and night! In her fabulous book Anne explains:
    “Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brothers shoulder, and said, Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.”
    This philosophy has served me well when I get overwhelmed by a big project.

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    KK Reply:

    love this comment heather – thanks!
    KK

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    Miss Jodi Reply:

    Loved this. Such a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing I’m going to get this book

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  • Paul

    Sarah, I have not read your past work so this is new to me and I enjoyed reading it and can see that what you have written about creative writers can also be said of any one doing anything beyond the “norm” look at stone sculptures they all start out as a lump of rock then some one chisels away to reveal the beautiy of the sculpture beneath and this takes time. Look at the so called over night sensations called Olympians they took ten or more years of training to be “overnight” sensations”. So to all who want to be great “Rome was not built in a day”!!!!!!

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  • http://stellarsparkles.tumblr.com Stellaaaaaarrr

    I have this (rather long) quote sitting on my desk that always helps me unstick creatively. Normally it’s a fear of messing up that holds me back, but this helps:

    Ira Glass said: “Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

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  • Carolyn

    I live with a very creative plumber and can tell you ‘dinner man’ is wrong. Plumbers do write about how hard their work is. You most certainly can read about “plumbers block” any time you wish…or even sit around with a few fine gents (I have only heard of one gal with a fully fledged license to plumb, so far) and they will readily discuss it with you – S-bends and all.

    To bang on a little further… surely dinner man hasn’t considered the overwhelming creativeness required to draw up a hydraulic plan to service the entire pipe system of a high-tech inner city building before the concrete slab is to be poured over the top of it – sealing it forever. Or when he/she has been called out to to an emergency (think glamorous C.S.I plumbing-style) with an entire block overflowing with, erm…fluids, and no one else can seem to work out why….. I could continue ad nauseum. Although, my rant would surely be wasted on dinner man. I can only imagine that when he excused himself to visit the ‘Men’s Room’, the reflection in the bathroom mirror would have been far too distracting for him to have given much thought to the ingenious innovation creatively functioning below him. Or that someone (of the plumbing kind) needed to record the how/why/where of the entire design and construction process to assist in alleviating or preventing another someone’s “plumber’s block.”

    LIFE is a creative process. Please feel free to continue writing about it. Please keep posting great articles on overcoming creative blocks – of any bent! It sure helps those of us who love writing, reading and discovering other’s solutions to all the twists and challenges that make life worth living! X

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    Stephanie Reply:

    Brilliant! I loved this.

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  • http://svasti.wordpress.com/ Svasti

    I’ve got a children’s book, relatively developed with clear characters and all. Only, it still lives inside my head only. I’ve told a couple of people a few details and they’ve reacted really positively. But as of yet, it hasn’t made it onto a page of any kind (digital or physical). It’s been driving me nuts, but after reading this I stopped judging myself so harshly.

    To all the rude haters above complaining about rehashed content, you’ve no idea how many files I have with various versions of the same pieces of writings, or at least on similar topics. I choose to cannabalise my own work whenever it suits me, and guess what? It’s my work, so I’m cool with that…

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    Mathew Reply:

    Good on ya Svasti that’s telling them!!!

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  • Lucy

    I love this blog post, thanks Sarah for your insightful and encouraging words. Keep up the good works.

    Haters, take your energy elsewhere.

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  • Ava

    I wish there was a cure or an outlet for intelligence/common sense block. I could really use it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • daisy

    Persist, practise, push; push, practise, persist. Just do something; anything – even if you think it’s rubbish.
    Something will come of something but something won’t come from nothing!

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  • http://www.jsnelders.com Jason Snelders

    Thanks Sarah.

    As a “creative type” (for me it’s currently software development, business, photography and writing) I’ve had to figure out most of what you wrote for myself over the years. However, having you say it does add a little weight and support to my own thoughts. It’s reassuring.

    I’m currently drafting a blog post to publish in November (a *really* important one) and the first stages of a book I will probably self-publish in 2013ish (which could end up in one of many directions). I know it will take time and effort but each time I write a new note or snippet I remember the quotes you provided and realise I’m not alone in this long, creative process.

    Just knowing better people than I have had to walk the path is reassuring that I have half a chance.

    Thank you.

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  • Ross H

    OK, first a rant – I wrote a brilliant, witty, enlightening response, hit submit only to have something fatal go wrong in cyberspace and naturally, it was lost to the ether. Bugger. So I shall attempt to recreate.

    First of all, any bloke who has the delights of Sarah Wilson for dinner (eeewww that almost sounds like he was muching on her ribs or something) only to start spouting rubbish like that, needs his bloody head read. And he’s calling others wankers?

    Now as one of those self-indulged w*nkers, I shall join the chorus. Writing can be damned hard work. And I have done my share of hard physical yakka in the past. No, writing does not leave me feeling as physically wrung out as say a day of hay-carting or digging postholes by hand with a crowbar, but it leaves you mentall exhausted. It is not unknown for me to be left feeling I have all the active intellect of a block of stale Swiss cheese.

    The creative process is something that needs to be unplugged and allowed to flow freely. Tara Moss insists just get writing. Neil Gaiman’s advice to aspiring writers is to simply write. Stephen King freely admits he has little idea where any of his works are going when he starts. But King is one of those lucky organic writers who is able to build it all as he goes. I am from the other side of the fence where I have to plan etc. But even that planning act needs me to stop fart-arsing around and sit down and write. In fact that act of writing is part of the writing apprenticeship. That plumber wasn’t fixing S-bends on his own from day one of his apprenticeship. He had to learn, in a large part by doing. And so the creative process is something that you in part learn by doing.

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  • Toreba

    Hi Sarah, Thank you for a great blog/website and please continue to expand and extrapolate on any previous articles as some of us are new on here. Some things are very much worth expanding on and calling that process a rehash is a bit of a cheap shot. Those doing the negative criticism are probably having a bad day about something else,

    Regards to all,

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  • http://www.muchadoaboutnoting.com Miriam

    “Write drunk. Edit sober” So SO true, especially for poetry.

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