Stuck in the Creative Rut
If you are a creative person, given enough time, you will most likely hit a creative rut. You will find yourself asking, “Haven’t I done this before?” “Hasn’t someone, somewhere done exactly what I am doing?” “What is it exactly that I am doing?”
I don’t care if your creative work is writing one blog a month, every creative individual must confront the patterns that create the rut in the first place.
A mind like mine
Blind Wanderer on the well-worn track
Pattern discovery a soothing activity
inclusive of no one but me.
I escape into answers
Questions exist, widely open
Too expansive for contemplation
Serenity in knowing
Becomes the knot and the bind.
The poem speaks to my process as an artist and how it leads to my being stuck in a creative rut. I keep looking at the same things in my life, seeing the same patterns. I tell myself answers, when questions would better serve my purpose. If I am going to create, I can not remain stuck in my same patterns of answers and knowing. This process leads to complacency and also a sense of being “bound” into what I have thought before.
I recently read Twyla Tharp’s book on creativity and one of her suggestions to getting out of a creative rut is to simply change your pattern of doing things. If you normally write in the morning, write in the afternoon or night. Take a different route to work. Speak to different colleagues than you normally would. If you check out certain web-sites for your news everyday, try some different ones. If you work out in the evening, switch it up. Work out in the morning. Go for a walk or a run rather than the gym. Take a new class. Change your pattern. Change your emotional response- laugh rather than get angry, get angry rather than standing around complacent. In a nutshell, the best way to move out of a creative rut is to turn up new soil, dig a little deeper, dig somewhere new. Feel alive, again, because creativity results from mining the living materials of our lives, not the recycled, re-used, and rehashed material.