Saturday, September 27, 2008

Shifting Energy towards Success

Two images of the same bouquet, just one is buds and the other is fully blown.

Stuck in a creative endeavor? Can't move forward? Struggling with gettin' 'er done? Happens, all too often, to good folks! Why?

The stopping power of getting to done, finished, completed--all have connotations of being a death. When humans are done, finished, completed, we're dead. Not a good thing. This is a major part of the "sticking problem" we often encounter at some point in a w.i.p.

How do we shift that negative energy?

Keep in mind that a completed work is only on the path of going towards something new, whether it be publication or selling of the work in some form or more simply sharing it with friends and family--it's always in process.

Reframing what "done" means really helps too. When at the junction of a finished work, remember it is just a marker on the path of the work and that's all the meaning it has. It's not complete and it never will be--that's not the nature of any creative piece. Why? Because it goes on, transformed by others' experience. The reader of a book, the viewer of a piece of art, the wearer of jewelry all add their own part as they experience the piece.

And does the rose bush die when you cut off the blooms? Remember that if you don't cut the roses on a rose bush, you don't get any more blooms. If you don't trim the roses, the plant becomes weaker as the blooms become rose hips. Finishing the work is only trimming blooms to create more growth.

What do you do when you get stuck? What helps you move forward? What hinders the shifting of the energy towards success?


Dave King said...

A good post with a useful point well made. An associated problem is knowing when to call it a day and say the work is finished. That, more usually, is my difficulty. Whether poem of painting, I tend to keep going back. Eventually, as someone once said, but I forget who, it isn't finished - just abandoned.
You could argue, tough, that your post has something to say to that condition. Excellent. lovely photographs, too. There is something about a bud... a perfection, a promise of perfection that is not there in the full flower.

Swubird said...


Funny that I should read your blog at this very moment. It seems that I am stuck. I can't get a single sentence written. I have an idea, but my mind won't transfer that thought to my had and fingers. It's like there's a break in the cable somewhere between my brain and my hand.

So, I've decided to devote a little time to reading blogs and see what everybody else is doing. I'm hoping that I'll read something that will help my thoughts to break loose and get the old fingers typing again.

As I read through other people's blogs, one thing that amazes me is the frequency at which some of them publish new posts. Some even write multiple posts a week. And some actually have several blogs to keep up with. I only have one active blog, yet I have writer's block. So I wonder, how on earth do they do it?

Any thoughts?

happy trails.

Jim Murdoch said...

It's not often I hold up Adolf Hitler as a shining example but his approach to tackling the French defences, the Maginot Line, was to simply march round it. Or, for the Star Trek fans out there, think about Kirk's final battle with Kahn where he ducked under the attacking ship. Or Alexander the Great's solution to the Gordian knot – he didn't bother trying to untie it; he simply cut it with his sword. Do you see a pattern here? So often when I'm stuck on something it's because I've decided that there's only one solution to the problem and that is rarely the case. But the more you stare at the problem the more you'll see the problem and get wrapped up in it. You need to step away from whatever you're stuck at for a while, and that can be a good while (in the case of my third novel it was two years) and then, refreshed, so often the answer is staring you in the face.

Conda Douglas said...

Thanks, Dave.

And I adore your comment about rather than finished, being abandoned. There's something about creative pieces that I believe can never be finished.

And could it be that bud hold tight within the petals myriad possibilities of what is to become and that makes them somehow more appealing?

Kathy McIntosh said...

I love your apt choices of examples, so often illustrated with a cool photo. Dirt, roses...The topic certainly fits where I am in the never-ending story, a novel that's taking too long to finish.
I tell myself I'm growing, getting better, but I think perhaps fear stops me from finishing. Then I'll have to send it out. To possible rejection. Ayee.
And Swu, I totally understand your awe at others who blog and blog often...blogging has given me a better concept of time and how fast it passes.

Conda Douglas said...


I hope your writer's block breaks free real soon.

And as to frequent bloggers--I've always considered you one!

And I suspect those who blog every day (or even more often) are substituting blogging for some other form of writing.

Just my thought...

Conda Douglas said...

Oh my, 2 years away from a novel?! And then to go back to it--but you're right, Jim, after I think about it for a moment--then you really would have fresh eyes.

And how many times have I realized, after struggling with a writing problem and taking a break--that the solution was obvious and incredibly simple?!

Conda Douglas said...

Oh yes, Kathy, the demon fear--oh, do I know that one--and I could write a book--but won't.

The Muse said...

Fresh air always gets me going again. If I can add a little boat ride to it, boy my head really gets cleared and geared for work.

It always seems reading helps too.

Funny, you bring this up, I just built a writers block lens--I had little lens block trying to get to the 9-30 deadline. I couldn't think of any thing else to build. So, I built it about my problem. Doing it helped me get over the hump and get the final lenses submited in time.

Conda Douglas said...

Muse--that's a great idea: use the problem to solve the problem!