How a shift in our perspective can help us tackle creative block.

Photo by Ben / Unsplash

Ah, the blinking cursor. Can you think of a better, modern-day symbol for writer’s block?

I’m lucky that most of the time I sit down to write, I have some inkling of what I’d like to share. Today, however, is not one of those days. Today, the blinking cursor and I are spending more time together than I’d like. 😔

What is it about the blinking cursor that bothers us so much? Maybe it’s because the blinking cursor can feel like a wall between us and flow. After all, it can be hard enough to start a thing, but when we muster the activation energy to start only to be greeted by stuck, that’s a different kind of struggle. Stuck can feel downright deflating.

I wonder if we might reframe the blinking cursor (and its many creative equivalents). What if we allow ourselves to see the blinking cursor as a symbol for trying…thinking…reflecting? What if the blinking cursor meant progress? How might this influence how we interpret the moments when we’re wedged between starting and making so that we can be patient enough with ourselves to break through to the other side of stuck?

When we show up and accept that some days will be harder than others, the hard days become easier because we expect them. We’ve built them into our process. They become a part of the creative cycle and the marrow of what we make.

We won’t always know what to do next but that’s okay: stuck is a part of the process and stuck can only happen once we’ve begun. We’re on our way, we’re just caught in traffic. The trick is to keep going.

Keep thinking.

Keep blinking.

Afterthoughts: The above was written with true writer’s block. Sometimes when I’m stuck, I just write a line or two about why I feel stuck and that’s usually enough to get me going. Today I had no such luck, so I decided to use the moment as an exercise to examine the challenge before me.

The key takeaway? I started. I tried. I created something…and I’ll sit down and share something else again soon. I hope you’ll join me.