Rick Benzel, M.A., is a creativity coach, writer, and editor in Los Angeles with a passion for helping all types of artists get unstuck. He enjoys brainstorming with creators to help them develop, articulate and organize their ideas. His coaching practice has helped writers, screenwriters, and visual artists. He offers various workshops in the Los Angeles area, a one-day brainstorming Inspiration Tour, and 7- or 10-day retreats in France. He is the creator of this Anthology and the founder and Publisher of Creativity Coaching Association Press, the publisher of this book. He can be contacted at his website, www.rickbenzel.com.
Every artist gets stuck from time to time in creativity-halting goo. It can happen at any phase of your work: when you're beginning a project, in the middle, or close to completion. The goo can overcome you in many different ways it can prevent you from finding an idea, or cloud your mind when choosing among many ideas, or pull you downwards into a creative void.
Using Psychology to reframe your problem and learning how to change your view of the problem. Reframing is based on the concept that you can abandon negative self-talk, replacing it with positive statements and attitudes that lead you to a more fruitful interpretation of the moment.
Tapping into the stream of consciousness. The great French writer Marcel Proust is known for a style of writing called stream of consciousness, in which he poured his feelings out onto the page like water over a dam.
Using the potter's wheel as a life metaphor. When you try pottery, you quickly learn that if you do not center the clay on the wheel, it is nearly impossible to pull the clay up into a balanced object.
Partnering with fellow creatives or community. Creativity-halting goo can sometimes be thick and viscous, and getting out of it on your own is just not possible. Your inner artist is going nowhere, spinning its wheels, like a car stuck in mud or snow. Sometimes you need a buddy to get unstuck, a colleague who can push or pull you out, by listening to you and perhaps by sharing some ideas.
Using rows and columns to move through gridlock. When getting stuck involves indecision or an inability to choose from among what seem to be too many good ideas, the best solution may be the Matrix Approach. This solution is based on resorting to logic to evaluate your ideas and choose the best one according to a set of criteria you develop.
Cocreating with your Higher Power. More artists are turning themselves over to a higher power to direct their work. For some people, the higher power is embedded in a religious tradition, while for others, their spiritual approach is rooted in a profound respect and appreciation for human creativity within a mystical cosmos.
Reflecting in personal truth and honesty. The Reward Approach can be an effective method to get out of stuckness when the creativity-halting goo is thin and leaves you with a sense of power over your situation. This approach requires you to be brutally honest with yourself in evaluating whether your stuckness reflects factors that you can control if you truly wanted to.
Finding a luminary in your field; working with a creativity coach. One of the most intriguing ways to learn how to get unstuck is to find yourself a hero, that is, a luminary in your field after whom you might model yourself.
This collection of insights for successful creating is based on Inspiring Creativity: Powerful Insights and Practical Ideas to Guide You to Successful Creating and published with permission.
Repudiating You're Not Creative
5 Eroding Notions to Resist
5 Nurturing Practices to Embrace
Feeling You Don't Have Permission to Create
How Society Tells Us Not to Create
How Friends May Convince Us Not to Create
How We Convince Ourselves Not to Create
Suggestions for Giving Yourself Permission
Every Artist Gets Stuck
Reframing Approach to Getting Unstuck
Marcel Proust Approach to Getting Unstuck
Pottery Approach to Getting Unstuck
Buddy Approach to Getting Unstuck
Matrix Approach to Getting Unstuck
Spiritual Approach to Getting Unstuck
Reward Approach to Getting Unstuck
Hero Approach to Getting Unstuck