Admit it, You’ve Got…



All my Creative Blocks are the same: Blocky. Un-Fun. Worrisome. Here’s a rant from inside my current one.

Existential Angst  has settled in accompanied by the meanest sort of playground bullying self-talk. Does the world need anymore of your ceramic work? Probably not. Fold up your tent and get a move on.

Shame on the shame I sling! I kick me when I’m down. Why try? Your stuff is not just really bad, but is actually The. Worst. Stuff. Ever. Cue the Deteriorata: “You are a Fluke of the Universe. You Have No Right to Be Here.”

The kid’s book version of My Creative Block would be weird and slightly repulsive, illustrated by Ralph Steadman. It would end inconclusively, like The Lady or The Tiger.

My tender artist’s ego cannot bear to go into the studio right now, even to tidy-up and pretend to work. It generally results in an idle start and then I walk out.

I can’t plan very well either, having no oomph or confidence in being able to pull it off.

I’ve heard this called “Arting Harder” and it sucks.


In the meantime, I’ve been hiding out in the safety of a long Victorian sensationalist novel,  some “knumbing knitting” (grab a ball of yarn and knit to the end of it. Call it a scarf,) and a tasty flight of Chardonnays.

I started a truly massive house reorg and redo as a way of feeling more effective- which was an unintentionally good ploy actually, because it let me ponder my plight from a respectable distance. Like a cartoon character who slips the fray and stands watching her avowed enemy duke it out with itself.


Thing is, I am heartily bored of Creative Blockedness. The Pain and Suffering. The Avoidance and Coping Tactics. It’s not an interesting cha-cha anymore. I want a new result, but I need some new ingredients to synthesize it with. Just telling The Block to go away prolongs the struggle and is exactly like Bob Newhart’s “two word” psychologist in this don’t-miss clip.

And yet…

I am seeing some hope and movement when I intentionally relax into reality just as it is and get glimpses of the sub-plots at play. I see The Block steadily melting away with consistent applications of:

TimeIt’s going by anyhow. Why thrash and gnash?

Humor:  Hot, fresh and black, please.

Writing: This piece is a culmination, but there has also been a lot of free writing to get the righteous petulance flowing.

Meditation: Hours of watching me do me in the framework supplied the Headspace app.  (The 30 days on Creativity were revolutionary and Andy is a most appealing guide.)

Good Clean Eating: It helps that nearly the whole world is trying to eat healthy this time of year. Me too.

My Rowing Machine: Exercise has been so pleasant that I routinely turn obligatory minimum minutes into double that.

Water: Yep. Wine is better as a celebratory condiment.

Eight to Ten Hours of Sleep: Hard for me as I am a lifelong night-owl, but it truly removes Winter Morning Dread.

The Best New Ingredient? Curiosity. The very scientific and creative “How” and “What If?” as applied to the CB. Just how does this thing operate? What if I just let it? Is there value here? Can I keep it going? What if I let the Wild Rumpus start? Would I be overcome? What if that’s a good thing? And how do I feel about all that clay stuff today? Curious? Good! Go find out!

–Liz Crain, who did not mention Talking and Reading because they are old standbys, but wants you to know that the confidences of a few close friends really help, as do the writings and postings of: Martha Beck, Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Carter Gillies, Chuck Wendig, Todd Williams. Thank you all. P.S. That typeface in the photo up top is actually called “Creative Block.” Pretty ugly, right?


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