July 11, 2016

Cracking Through Creative Resistance

This post is part of a 30 in 30 blog experiment, where I committed to writing 30 posts in 30 days with minimal planning between June 20, 2016 and July 20, 2016.

One of the tricks I learned in a creativity coaching class taught by Eric Maisel has led to a profound realization for me--I hate messes. Here's the premise of the exercise: When I sit down to write, I first crack an egg into a bowl, dropping the shell in with it, and then get to work. The egg resembles the resistance to write, helping the writer break through a mental barrier with a physical one. Then, when the urge to leave the work space either physically or mentally pops up, to pick up a spoon and sir the egg/shell mixture.

So I sat down to write with a bowl, spoon, and an egg.

I can't do that one handed thing where I splay the egg shell open with my hand once it's broken, so I had to stick my fingers into the fissure and pull the shell apart. It was the feeling of prying the shell open that reminded me of what my resistance felt like--pulling the story out one drip at a time.

Per the exercise, I dropped the shell into the bowl, wiped my fingers, and began to write. To my surprise, it worked. I wrote, the words were halting at first, but then picked up speed.

Ten minutes after starting, I'd started thinking about emails I needed to return and whether or not I'd taken the chicken out for dinner. Instead of getting up, I looked down into the bowl and picked up the spoon. The squicky sight of the egg and shell all mixed up freaked me out a little.

Angry at first and feeling stupid, I jabbed at the shell wanting to break it into smaller, less noticeable pieces. I broke the yolk in the process, so I whisked the yolk and the white together in swirls of color and smiled a little as little bits of egg shell swirled around a sunny vortex. It didn't take long for me to figure out the method to the madness.

What if I needed to learn to get comfortable stirring my own creative mess? Could I ever get used to gently (or not) tossing it about, breaking it down in order to create something else? When it comes right down to it, the process of creating anything is being comfortable with uncertainty, to be willing to stay for as long as it takes to make something whole, even when it appears that none of the pieces fit together.

So I guess it worked. I'm moving forward, slowly.  And I need to buy more eggs. How do you get moving after being stuck?

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