Curing Your Creative Block

We’ve tried this. (Well, LB’s tried it.) And it works!

sand-sculptureby Herbert Lui

So making songs now that I know aren’t going to be heard by anybody else, it is an interesting thing. Because I think you have to do that now as an artist. I really do.

—Donald Glover, Grantland interview

You might feel your work has gotten less creative over the past few months (or years). You might feel discouraged. Perhaps money turned a fun hobby into a chore. Maybe you’re completely creatively blocked, or haven’t felt inspired in a while. Or maybe you’re just bored.

If any of this happens to you, I want to suggest a simple exercise: Every week, set aside a few good hours to create something just for yourself. By good hours, I mean do it first thing if you’re a morning person. If you’re a night owl, do it at night.

For me, the magic moments and connections happen when I’m just writing in a journal (usually by pen), or when I’m reading a book I’d selected out of curiosity. I realize that this might sound like a waste of time. Why would you want to produce something that no one will use?

Here’s why it’s valuable:

When you’re creating for someone else—a client, a huge group of users, or for critics—your success is determined externally. And as management wiz Peter Drucker says, “Wherever there is success, there has to be failure.”

When you’re creating something just for yourself, you neutralize any possibility of failure. And what seemed so difficult becomes easy again.

Donald Glover, well-known for his TV work and his music, talks about how he makes things that he never intends to show the public.

Similarly, so does musician Hudson Mohawke: “When myself and Lunice did the TNGHT project, it was not even intended for release.”…

Read it all at Quartz