“what if I had nothing to write about anymore?” – what to do when your creativity is stuck

Now that I finally have my website set up and running (got my domain name today! 🥳), and some posts shared with my contacts, I sat down in my chair thinking about how cool this whole process has been.

But then the gremlin of anxiety decided to pay me a visit. I started to think: well, it’s really cool how I feel excited about formatting my blog, and how the number of drafts I have keeps increasing!

But… what if I ran out of my creative flow? I feel particularly creative and engaged right now, and I know this state doesn’t last forever, or at least it tends to wax and wane. So what will I do when I feel like I have nothing to write about?

Well, I sat down and tried to think about a solution to this issue, and remembering the words of three people ended up comforting me: Kobe Bryant, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Maya Angelou.

When I was watching this interview of Kobe, I heard him say that when he went for basketball practice, on some days the basket felt like a swimming pool – very easy to get all the shots in. But on some days it felt like a keyhole. Can you imagine a basketball legend saying this?

It helped me realize that if you’re working on something, then no matter who you are, some days are just meh. You can’t let days like that just make you give up on doing something you generally enjoy.

Kobe mentioned that it’s important for people to understand that days like these come, but the important thing is to keep showing up to practice each day anyway.

This is a similar concept both writers Elizabeth Gilbert and Maya Angelou also talked about.

Elizabeth Gilbert gave a TED Talk titled Your elusive creative genius, and in contrast to Kobe, her focus was more on the creative aspect of the craft of writing. In general, her talk focused more on realizing that creativity is not a process entirely in our own control.

When people experience a lack of creativity after having been really creative before, they end up experiencing crushing feelings of anxiety and despair at the notion that they may not be able to surpass their own work again.

In a situation like this, it’s important to come up with a mental framework that can protect us from that kind of anxiety and depression. Ancient Romans, for example, used to believe that people were not entirely responsible for their creative work.

They believed that each creative person had a genius living in their studio walls, a kind of spirit separate from themselves that would aid their creative process.

So if someone produced really good work, they wouldn’t let it get to their heads because they could say that the genius had given them a great idea. And if your work wasn’t great, people could just say that you had a lame genius so it wasn’t entirely your fault!

Although this concept may not seem realistic or logical at first, it’s easier to accept it when you pay attention to how people sometimes tend to get ideas out of nowhere. Those ideas are not entirely our own doing.

I’ve found this to be true for myself too. I mean, I ended up writing this poem by putting into words a bunch of different scenes I saw in my dream one time and combining them with my feelings. I was not writing regularly at that point, or very into writing poems in general. It just happened. The words, the arrangement, the flow, everything. The whole process felt so smooth.

So it’s helpful to remember that the burden to produce very good and very creative work is not entirely on our own selves. Sometimes good ideas come to us, other times they just don’t. But perhaps we can increase the surface area to receive those good ideas by showing up to write regularly, and catch the good ideas whenever they become available to us.

And lastly, I read a quote by Maya Angelou, one of the greatest writers of our time, on what we can do when we’re stuck creatively:

“What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks ‘the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,’…. And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, ‘Okay. Okay. I’ll come.”

Maya Angelou


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