Sometimes working at home, on a computer, I get stuck like some poor underwater creature in a tide-pool when the tide goes out. My mind goes completely blank, my thoughts a tangle of disparate threads that won't tie into each other. I can sit like that for hours. Just staring at the task without an original thought in my head.
Thankfully for my deadlines and employers and kind souls who've asked for my words, I've learned that there are a couple of ways out of such messes. First: go outside. I know that for myself, the hardest thing about interrupting even an unproductive workflow, is feeling guilty about not working.
Once outside, my brain starts up again in a big way. Whether it's because of the exercise, the change in surroundings, or the fresh air, as my blood flow increases, so does the amount ideas in my mind. Sometimes I go for a bike ride and when I get back home I discover I've untangled my thoughts, or solved a problem, that just a half an hour ago, seemed unsurmountable.
The second trick to increased creative flow, or I guess thought-work of any kind, is to engage in another, entirely different activity for a while. And by this I don't mean perusing facecrack.
Sometimes simply walking around, observing your surroundings is enough, picking up pieces of driftwood, or interesting rocks, like new thoughts. At others, I find that a another creative project can really help me with my work. I imagine that creativity resides in a certain part of our brains and stimulating it in different ways nourishes it on the whole.
Today, I snuck down to one of my favorite beaches, with my new tripod (birthday gift) and took pictures for a special little project, the writing of which is one of the things giving me trouble right now. Looking at the world from a different point of view, images instead of words, horizons and headlands instead of that infernal little blinking cursor, was just what I needed to feel inspired again.
It's still completely magical to me that I live in such a beautiful place, something that's all too easy to forget in the daily bustle and humdrum of living. Just a little while on the beach, watching the gulls, looking for treasure, warming my cheeks in the sun, I felt completely recharged, suddenly at peace again, full of ideas, relaxed.
On the way back I took my time, poking around on the side of the road, watching the Redwing Blackbirds sitting in the reeds. I ran into a friend, I stalked a small black and white kitten, I watched the horses and cows and admired the Olympic Mountains, so clear across the water…
When I got home, I discovered that there's plenty of treasure here too and got right back to work.
Hope your week is fruitful too...