On my computer, there's a folder called "In Process Posts." This is where I save blog posts or articles I've written but don't consider ready to publish or submit just yet.
Lately my stack of unfinished posts is growing. For some reason, I've been struggling to take this content to the next level. Coming up with a basic idea and blathering on about it hasn't been a problem. But transforming it into something I can feel proud to share with the world has been a challenge. Maybe the ideas aren't quite crystallized or my writer's voice sounds muddled. Often, there might be glimmers of compelling insight hidden somewhere in a post, but my take on the subject matter just isn't relatable or even interesting.
When this happens, often I stare at my computer screen for a while, my eyes glazing over despite the delicious caffeine I just consumed. This writing is just not good enough, I conclude, and I don't know how to fix it. And I hate the way I feel looking at this jumble of words, this mountain of prose that basically says nothing worthwhile. So off it goes into blog post purgatory, where it may or may not remain for all eternity.
What's the solution when the creative process seems to stall? There is a fascinating interview with artist and illustrator Christoph Niemann, who creates drawings using ordinary objects. He talks about how the process of creating something isn't always linear or pleasant. You need friction, he argues, or what he calls "a moment of discomfort," in order to make your work truly interesting. If you can embrace this sense of uneasiness and uncertainty, you'll find the process much more enjoyable.
I think I've been actively avoiding this moment of discomfort, because, let's face it--it's uncomfortable! When I get to that point where I feel I can't improve my writing anymore, yet I'm still not satisfied with a post, I just shelve it. Out of sight, out of mind. But Niemann would say that's the exact moment in which one should not give up. That uncertain, uncomfortable and often very frustrated feeling means we're actually on the right track.
With this in mind, I'm going to delve back into my unfinished posts folder...
Do you ever feel stalled in your creative process? What do you do to get back on track?
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I'm Gina, mom to two girls, writer, and seasoned coffee drinker.