Wednesday, January 14, 2009


Channel to Crooked Lake. By Ruth Zachary.

and/or Foiling Your WRITE -Brained Creative Blocks

Sometimes you write like an obsessed demon. Then later, mysteriously, the words you just wrote appear to be drivel. You can’t even muster the start of an idea. Worse, you can’t remember who you were when you wrote those great pieces you turned in one semester two years ago. Your muse appears to have wandered away to spend time with someone whose writing is more worthy. It’s easy to feel that way during a dry spell.

As a creative person working in the visual arts as well as writing, I have many years of paying attention to the times when creativity seems to flow from some miraculous source. Others have said words or images seemed channeled into their mind and spirit, and to flow out through their hand on the page as if they were the instrument of the Muse Herself.

Often the real answer to blocks is a positive approach, steps taken to create the conditions which nurture your creativity.

I have talked to many other writers about this. Many list the tangible barriers preventing them from being creative, and they set about removing the blocks. Some say just writing regularly helps a great deal. Few, however, have linked right-brained activity with creativity.

Few are even aware of how to tap into an altered state to enhance their art work, or Play. Keeping an attitude that your art form is for you a privilege, a source of joy, and your time to play will help you nurture the process which for your will be most productive.

The Right Brain
Several years ago, I read Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, for visual artists. It emphasizes the functions of the brain which can encourage creativity, if cultivated. In fact, flipping through it, I see renewed ideas there, and think I must read it again.

Since the first time, though, I have identified many situations which I believe are directly tied to right-brained functions. Creativity can be stimulated by identifying your own personal right-brained states, and learning to prolong those states during the period of play devoted to your personal art form.

Here are some situations that put me into a creative place:

√ Sleep and Dream States – often ideas come for art. Write them down.
√ Darkness at dawn or dusk – also write these thoughts down.
√ Waking slowly, stimulated by coffee, and letting thoughts wander freely
within the areas of your art expression. Write or sketch your ideas.
√ Showering. Record your ideas as soon as possible.
√ Driving through beautiful scenery. Have you noticed how you are able to do your
driving functions and still think of something else at the same time? That is your right brain working, but don’t do this if you might endanger yourself or others, and do pull off the road to record your ideas.
√ Riding on a bus or train.
√ Meditation.- images and writing may come automatically or unconsciously.
√ Listening to music. Pay attention to which kind of music stimulates you. I prefer non-vocal
music when focused on writing.
√ While doing routine exercise.
√ Dance.
√ Sex- afterglow. (Hold that thought til later)
√ Gardening.
√ Repetitive chores.
√ Laying on the beach.
√ Under the Influence – light alcohol, only. You can’t be creative or productive when wiped out.

I don’t claim that my creative space is the same as yours. But do pay attention to what works for you, and do set up the conditions to encourage your own creativity!

Another excellent book for all sorts of artists and writers is The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron, which encourages the artist’s spirit and discusses the issues plaguing many artists, and how to overcome them.

All images and writing are the Copyright of Ruth Zachary.

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