Resisting the Door Trying to Open

September 15th, 2009

When I start a writing project or even begin thinking of one, I alternate between flashes of excitement and great despair or resistance to the idea. I allow myself to fall into blank discouragement — and when it happens, it feels like a physical collapse in which I question the idea’s uniqueness, wonder if it’s useful, convince myself I can never pull it off and then sit down on the floor and stare at the door closed against me, unable, unwilling to push against it. Eventually I put my shoulder to the locked door and shove, or I sneak around it and enter through an open window, and I remind myself that this is just part of my normal way of working. It helps to know this is not something out of the ordinary, that my initial reaction doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a crappy idea, that I have to go through this to break through to the inner room of my imagination. And after all is said and done, aren’t I lucky to be able to do this for a living? What tricks do you use to break through to the other side?

5 Responses to “Resisting the Door Trying to Open”

  1. corine says:

    I love the image of your breaking and entering into a new project. As for me, I usually pump my system with coffee and start writing about the idea in my journal, and at some point I'm no longer writing about it, but 'it'.

    That's usually. But lately I can's seem to even scrap myself off the floor long enough to write in my journal.

  2. susanna says:

    Oh, I completely understand what you are saying. I go through a similar thing before I create, too. I question whether a piece of artwork or a photograph has enough meaning, whether it's original enough, whether I'm any good at the medium and so on and so on. I move past this by taking baby steps and reminding myself that my artwork is for me first and that every "failure" is a lesson learned. I think every creative person questions themselves – we are, afterall, putting ourselves, our hearts out there in the world.

  3. Whosyergurl says:

    Either writing or working on my art, I have this process…and it is all about me. First, I think. I think about what I want to say or what I want to create. Then, I gather information which may range from notes on random pieces of paper in my purse- cards from my desk or in the notebook I carry for said notes…or I'll gather bits of ribbon or just start gathering bits of ephemera…something akin to a mama bird getting ready to build a nest. Then, when I write or create…I do NOT want to be interupted. (Usually it is my significant other with some lame "honey…blah, blah, blah…" when I'm writing, I usually snap "can't you see I'm working?" If I'm doing an art project I can kinda listen or listen well enough to fool him into thinking I'm actually listening.
    I DIVE. I love to write, love to create…love to get lost, to wallow in the words or glue, scissors, stamps, inks…so, so, so relaxing!
    Hugs, Cheryl in IN
    WHOSYERGURL

  4. Nikki Hardin says:

    Thanks for the inspiration, sistahs!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I generally have to sneak up on myself. It's as though I'm saying, "There's nothing I'm about to do, nothing on the horizon, not a goal in sight. Why do you ask?" Then, when I'm not looking, I start in a small, this-is-not-really-about-anything way. I try to get enough going that, by the time I "notice," the effort or the project is clearly underway, seems less daunting, and it appears to have a shot at being finished. I fully understand that this approach demonstrates a certain lack of courage and maturity. I'm working on it. -Diane