A couple of weeks ago, I found myself sitting on my doctor’s exam table giving creative advice. My doctor, an oil painter, told me that she hadn’t been painting in awhile, and she wanted to start again but was being stopped by a mixture of tiredness and fear. She was afraid to continue a painting of a barn because it might not be good.
I told her, as she washed her hands, to give herself permission to make the absolute worst painting possible. It was Okay to make a bad painting. This was borrowed advice that I had so gratefully received from my thesis advisor, John Ploof at SAIC. I stole his bit of wisdom and now apply it to all of my creative projects.
In fact as I am writing this blog post, I am worried that it is awful and that I am running of topics. As I work through illustrations for the Spring Issue of Woolgathering, I am afraid that I am making terrible paintings - that my ideas are unoriginal and uninspired.
And even if they are, even if my doctor’s barn painting turns out horrible, there is always revision. There is always another painting. There is always growth.
Sometimes in order to get through a creative block, you just have to build. You have to produce. You have to clear out that clog by giving yourself permission to make the worst thing.
In doing so, you move through the paralyzing dead zone of fear and into the glorious flow.
You can only find movement by moving. Take action. Clear away the block for what’s to come and keep on building!
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Writers Wanted for Woolgathering!!!
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Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.