Isn’t feeling stuck the worst?
I’ve been in a little rut of late — while I can picture myself flying, making gigantic leaps forward, in reality I can’t shake the feeling that I’m wading through glue.
This kind of things happens, when “diversions” like the daily grind, shifting schedules (youth sports, anyone?), and a whole host of external influences demand your presence, NOW, on the gerbil wheel of duty, responsibility, and obligation. As the days wear on and that thing keeps on churning, you can easily get stuck in the deep groove it makes; stranded on the edge of a depressing abyss where on the other side — and seemingly out of reach — are your creative commitment, personal goals, and artistic vision.
The good thing is about being stuck is that it’s not blocked; stuck is temporary, and even if part of you feels like it can’t go one more step, the other part of you can shimmy, pivot, and wriggle your way into freedom.
Just like that.
And the thing is all you need is a few baby steps to unstick your bitch’in self. It’s as easy as…
1) Change Your Scenery: I sat starting at a blank computer screen for two hours the day I started this post, with not one damn thought about what I could possibly write about. Lucky for me, I have a weekly mastermind group with my BBF — and yes, it’s just two of us — but that’s all the energy you need. I spent about a half hour at her house, and the goal I focused on was writing a kick ass post this week. In the calm of her living room, with the benefit of her perspective and insight, I recognized that my struggle today was universal and worth riffing on. The next morning instead of rolling around in my jammies and trying to get my mojo to rise, I showered, dressed, and headed out early to a coffee shop. All around me people were discussing big plans, interesting ideas (not that I was listening, but c’mon, how do you ignore someone with pink hair who’s gesticulating wildly?), and a zillion other topics. Who the hell knows — the buzz, caffeinated and otherwise, the inevitable coffee house jazz, and the energy popped the cork on my creative juice and got this here post a-flowin’.
2) Take Stock, Then Fake It Till You Make IT: The thing about being stuck is that you THINK you’ve never been here before. But we all have. There’s beauty in the c0nsistencies of life, and then there’s the flip side of familiarity: lethargy. So pull out the photo books, drag out your journals, pop online to your blog (which is what I did =), and look at all the crazy ass amazing shit you’ve done. If you’re lucky, you’ll land somewhere that will remind you of the last time that you were in a rut… and then somehow managed to break free and get back on track. In my case, I looked back at posts I’d written that I felt like I pulled out of my ass… and they weren’t half bad. The end result is never the point, anyways; it’s the path. Holding onto that creative space — actually, clinging to it for dear life — is the whole damn point. The ideal is to be authentic; the reality is sometimes you just have to bullshit your way through the sticky parts to get to the other side. In a super meta-moment, I’ll be honest and say this post is just that. But you know what? It’s all flowing now, and my fingers are struggling to keep up with my brain. That’s what I’m talkin’ about!
3) Now, Make a Commitment and JUMP!: And don’t tell me you’re not ready. Who gives a shit about ready? Now is the time to pick one thing that you know will move you forward and do it. In my case, my feelings of being stuck have been centered around my blog. Exactly three years ago, this blog was started because I wanted more than anything to be a published author, but I didn’t know how to get there. The answer was totally simple: just write, and use the publishing tools that anyone can access (i.e., a blog), and voila! It is done. Some of my bigger dreams still loom — getting the novels I’ve written out there and finishing a musical that’s in progress are the two biggies. But smaller ones along the way, including writing creatively for a living (and if you’d like to read some of my musings on art and The Walking Dead, check out this and this, and also this hot-off-the-presses fan art salute to Mad Men), are happening for reals. One of my double secret surefire strategies to getting unstuck is to make tangible commitments to achieving your goals. In my case, the two best ways to ensure productivity is by making significant investments of time, and also, of money: For the last few weeks, I’ve been cock-blocking my creative rut by working on a redesign of this here blog, which will hopefully be ready for prime time next week. And I’m joining a writer’s group, too. That’s something that in my past has been a true test to me, but I also know it’s a kick ass way to stay accountable — in fact, it’s clearly the kick in the ass I really need. Because once the baby steps are done, it’s time to jump, and take a risk to propel you up and out of that damn rut!
So if you see me at a local coffee shop, typing frantically, just know what I’m really doing is taking a leap of faith. Even little hops are a jump, and when you achieve lift off, guess what? You’re officially unstuck.