I’m on the third (and hopefully,the last) rewrite of a novel. No different from a petulant child, my interest is waning, the sunshine is beckoning, the blank page for a new story is demanding my time as lover ignored when left unattained, does.
But here I sit reading my words aloud. I’ve eliminated the excess that’s and was’, the passive verbs, tightened up the dialogue, and deleted the excess narration. It’s painful rereading the shitty first draft, agonizing editing it, and positively mind-numbing polishing it until it shines. It drains the battery. Know what I mean?
An oldie, but a goodie, dusted off from my archives. Ten tips to jump-start your artistic soul.
- Stop making to-do lists that confine and measure achievement. Instead, grant yourself 15 minutes every day to unplug from the demands of life and all of your gadgets—now appendages—and imagine yourself floating in a multi-colored hot air balloon free of restraints. The only objective is to declutter your mind and allow it to soar without inhibitions or constraints.
- Make a play date with your imagination.
- Drive to the town or city next to yours. Find a non-commercial Barista, walk in, and order something you’ve never tried before. Take a seat and observe.
- Is music playing? Does it inspire you?
- Look around. Do you notice any standout characters sitting at the tables alongside you? What are they discussing? Can you see yourself writing, painting, or being poetic, about these people?
- Are there any unusual accents? Can you place it? Create a scenario in which you and this person engage in conversation and discover you shared a lover. What do you learn about the lover and yourself? How do you leave the situation?
- Quick as a wink—no deliberation allowed—list your five favorite love songs. Once the list is complete, pick the fav of the fav, and listen to the song a few times. And then, write a fan letter to the songwriter. Tell him or her what the song means to you and why.
- Answer the questions: Why is being creative meaningful to you? What stands between you and your artistic canvas? What will you do this instant the obstacle disappears? And finally, make these questions your daily mantra.
- Take a walk on the wild side. Let go of your rules. Give yourself permission to write what you feel and say what your think.
- Locate a buried secret you carry within your soul for almost forever. It has to be one that causes some discomfort, fear, or hurt. Open the box, remove the memory, and peel back the layers of scar tissue covering it. Face it. Cry one more time if you must. After, put it back into the box and release the negative energy out into the void. The memory will remain, but the hold it had over you is gone making room for artist innovation.
- Take a mental staycation.
- Take a restricted or progressive sensory stroll
- Restricted: stroll with only one of the senses engaged; if the scent is the sense of choice, use your eyes for navigation only but breathe in your surroundings taking note of both the ordinary and unexpected. If so inclined, take a moment to jot down what comes to mind each time a new scent envelopes you.
- Progressive: there are several options in a progressive stroll; start your walk with only one sense turned on, then flip the switch on the second sense. Take care to notice the nuances. Is your awareness heightened? Continue this process until all five senses are turned on. Remember to monitor your connection to the surroundings and how the added feelings impact your perspective. Another option is to start the walk with all five senses switched on, and gradually turn each of them off one by one. Or focus only on two. At the end of your walk do you feel a surge of energy? Is the weight of your world lifted? Do you even remember where you walked or how you arrived home?
- Feed your mind (art, music, books, theater, arts and crafts) and fuel your body (greens, grains, protein, carbs and proteins, chocolate and wine or rye). Laugh and cry. Love. Live. Believe. Fall. Give yourself permission to fail and remember, from the ashes your artist self is reborn and recharged.
What do you do when your creative battery stalls?