I make a cocoon
Out of constraints and then wait
For words to grow wings.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but in my experience the best way to overcome creative block—in art and in life—is to give myself some parameters. The composer Stravinsky said that the more constraints one imposes, the more one frees oneself. Wordsworth concurred, declaring that “the sonnet’s scanty plod of ground” provides fertile creative soil for artists who have “felt the weight of too much liberty.”
Indeed studies suggest that when confronted with too many choices, consumers tend to freeze up, often choosing not to make any purchase at all because the task of choosing is so overwhelming. It’s like when you’re a kid and it’s summer and you complain about being bored even though there are a million things to do. Mom forces you to stop crying and stay in the sandbox for 30 minutes...and the next thing you know you’re building castles and cities and racetracks out of dirt.
So next time you face a creative block, consider imposing some limitations.
A time limit.
A word limit.
A syllable limit.
And the next time you face a spiritual block, consider focusing on just one thing at a time.
A single action.
A single prayer.
A single word.
After all, God has always been in the business of placing the very big within the very small.
Today’s post is part of a synchroblog that explores various types of creative blocks. Here's a list of contributors: