Creative Paralysis

I’ve been reflecting on my Starting Again post from a couple of weeks ago. I think my biggest fear is that I’ll have all this training and still choke when it’s time to audition. The trouble with fear, whether it’s stage fright, writer’s block, or fear of creating of any kind, is that it’s paralyzing and stops us from doing what we love. How can we push through it?

This New York Magazine post How to Get Over Stage Fright is from 2014, and it has some great, scientific ideas for dealing with stress.

Here are some other ideas for breaking through creative paralysis:

  • Take a walk— Walking in nature gives your brain a chance to wander and release stress. Also, the sights, sounds, and open air can trigger new ideas.
  • Improvise— If you’re a performer, take an improv class. If you’re an artist, practice free-hand drawing (doodle!). If you’re a writer, let your brain storm, and write whatever comes into your head.
  • Reconnect— It is important to reconnect with the simple joys of why you loved singing/painting/dancing/writing/etc. in the first place. For me, it means singing to my Broadway playlist or going to the theatre.
  • Release perfectionism— Give yourself permission to try, be in the moment, and move forward. What is the worst that can happen?

Good Enough

Okay.

Today we’re going to talk about creativity for the sake of creativity—

creativity just for oneself—

without the requirements of a perfect result—

because I want to tell you about one of my favorite painting experiences—

even though it is clear I have no talent in this area of the arts!

There is a space in our kitchen where our old landline was installed. Remember landlines? We had two ugly outlets that stood exposed, and they were the first things you would see when you walked into our kitchen. For years this space would glare at me, and I couldn’t figure out how to cover it.

I needed something that could be mounted over the outlets that would also blend in with the rest of the kitchen. I shopped different home stores, catalogs, and online. For years (YEARS! I am a terrible shopper…) I searched, but I could not find the right solution.

Then one day, I had a vision of a simple picture with flowers. Something soothing…. Continue reading

Starting Again

I was a theatre major in college, and my main love was musical theatre. I had some success early in my career: summer stock, regional theatre, and a small East Coast tour. The full time jobs were a dream for me, and summer stock was the best training. We’d start rehearsal at 9 a.m. for one show, and we’d perform another show at night. With the children’s theatre or a matinee, we’d perform over eight shows a week. Performing on stage became second nature to me.

I got married in my late twenties, and as I settled down with a full time corporate job, my theatre career fizzled out. The years blurred by, and one day I realized that, not only had I not performed on stage in several years, but the idea filled my chest with dread.

My family used to ask me to sing for them at the holidays, but with my new stage fright, I couldn’t breathe. My knees would shake, and my voice would stick in my throat.

By my late thirties, I found I was mourning a career and a love I hadn’t planned to leave behind.

When I was a young, struggling actress, I had read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. The quote that stuck with me was as follows:

“But do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to really play the piano/act/paint/write a decent play?”

Yes…the same age you will be if you don’t.

So let’s start.

Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way

 

This quote stayed with me fifteen years later. I needed to start again. I didn’t know what it meant, but even though it had been several years, I couldn’t give up that part of my life permanently. Continue reading

Color and Light

Many years ago, a friend taught me how to work with beads. She invited a few girls over to her house and graciously shared her favorite craft.

I remember gathering around her kitchen table. She had boxes of beads stacked high- she had such a collection!

We chose some beads, and she showed us how to make a bracelet. Threading the wire through each bead was easy, and we all got quiet as we focused on our project. However, when it was time to attach the clasp, it was not as simple as I thought it would be. My bracelet almost fell apart as I tried to hold onto the crimp tool, wire, and beads at the same time.

A few weeks later, I decided to try again on my own. With my new, small collection of supplies, I planned a necklace. As I picked up each bead, studied its color and shape, and tried different patterns in the tray, I was officially hooked.

Continue reading

Tackling the Page

I was catching up on my DVR last night and saw Tahereh Mafi interviewed on Late Night with Seth Meyers. I love watching Seth’s interviews (yes, we are on a first-name basis) because he is so engaged with his guests, and he asks such interesting questions.

Tahereh Mafi has written the Shatter Me series, and her latest book is Furthermore. They discussed how she got started, her love of reading, and the rejected manuscripts that taught her about writing.

Her writing style compared to her husband’s writing style was also fascinating to me. I love hearing how other writers tackle the page.

There is so much great writing motivation-inspiration-information in this interview. Check it out!