We all get stuck… this simple trick will help.
The process of creation can be a mystery. Do ideas come first, and then we create, or do we create and ideas come? Chicken before the egg? The question of all questions…
I think it can be both. Sometimes ideas seem to fall from heaven beginning the creation process. Other times we work our way into an idea.
The longer you spend creating anything the more the creation process becomes a mystery.
Louis L’Amour a prolific writer of hundreds of novels and short stories knew the creation-mystery well. I imagine after writing a hundred novels you might run out of ideas. Here’s what he said to do when the idea well runs dry:
“Start writing, no matter what. The water does not flow until the faucet is turned on.”
So the solution isn’t to obsess over what comes first… Ideas or creation? The question becomes will you write? Will we turn on the faucet of productivity and let it flow?
Stephen King said the writer’s notebook is the best place for great ideas to die. I think I know what he means. The best ideas are the ones that stick around. But they’re the ideas that come as we turn on the faucet and let the water flow.
Start writing, no matter what… Is the key. You outrun the paralysis of creation when you sit down and do. Action is always the cure for creation-block.
It’s amazing how many people complain they can’t seem to finish anything or their paralyzed by searching for the next great idea. Ask a few questions and you realize a lot of talk about creating, but not much doing.
The ideas come when you turn on the faucet. When you put your butt in the chair and write.
Flannery O’Conner said she didn’t know what she thought until she wrote it down. O’Conner turned on the faucet.
Are you stuck on a project?
No Muse, or special writing pills needed. Start writing, no matter what. Open the faucet and see what might happen.
That’s what I know for now.
Ryan J. Pelton is a teacher and genre-nomad author with over seventeen fiction and nonfiction titles to date. He also hosts a popular writing and publishing podcast, The Prolific Writer. Ryan reads, writes, naps, and nurses a Diet Coke addiction, with his wife and four children in Kansas City, Missouri. Buy a book and send his kid’s to college.