Tricking myself…

April 18th, 2010

Our greatest glory is not in never falling,
but in getting up every time we do.
– Confucius

Finding myself up against the creative wall, sometimes I have to crawl over the obstacle.

So many things can cause a stumble off the path towards well intentioned goals.  A phone call, burned cookies, stubbed toes, emails, overload, exhaustion, distractions.
Just thinking about all of those possibilities is enough to keep me from getting back up and on track!

Liza holding a watercolor pencil "the weird way"

So at times I have to be sneaky and trick myself to get back on board…

There are several different methods that I use to do that.

1) go for a walk away from distractions resolving to ONLY allow thoughts about my goal or project. It takes at least a half hour to clear my head.

2)Do a few sets of weights, or some yoga stretches. Breathing and getting the blood flowing, while thinking about the project (or something completely different) can re-energize.

3) walk away from the project and allow myself 1/2 hour of  stream of consciousness writing. Stick to three full pages of a legal pad. No more, no less. It’s a great exercise from Julia Cameron’s book: The Artist’s Way, which I highly recommend.

4) Grab an art medium that you don’t usually use… in the photo I’m holding a watercolor pencil. I love to do some quick drawing with these pencils, when I’m stuck creatively The process is the opposite of building up slow layers of transparent color in either watercolor or acrylic.
Additionally I’m holding the pencil “the weird way.” Not the way you would hold it to write with, but balanced between my index finger and thumb. When held this way there’s still quite a bit of control, but you have to move your whole arm to move the pencil. That kicks my brain into another mode, and re-energizes my creative synapses. When I work on wet paper with a watercolor pencil the simple elegance of the lines are magnified. They grow and morph and suggest new possibilities all by themselves. I know it’s  simple physics… gravity, flow, osmosis, the weight of the pigment… But they seem alive… that kicks me out of the stuck place I’m in.

And I’ve tricked myself back into a creative mode.

14 Responses to “Tricking myself…”

  1. Kadira says:

    Some great ideas for moving thru those blocks – Julia Cameron’s great isin’t she.

  2. Liza: These are great ideas. And that IS a “weird way!” I can’t imagine. Numbers 1 & 2 are probably my favorites. I use #3 in a less disciplined way–I just write until the ideas start flowing. The time doesn’t matter.

  3. Andrew Towl says:

    Liza you always seem to be on the creative track. It’s as though you see
    yourself as a living vine bearing creative fruit. Always available.

    ONWARD, Grandfather Andy

    • lizamyers says:

      Grandfather I am SO THRILLED that you are now able to comment! This is precisely why I switched from Vox, even though I did like some aspects of it better.
      Thanks for your supportive words.
      I’ll bet I’m one of a very few bloggers who have a 99 year old commenting on their blog.
      By all means, onwards! And see you soon!

  4. Candy Barr says:

    Well Liza.. everything is cool on your blog…but the topper has got to be the above. That you have a 99 yr old supportive grandpa and he left you comment! WTG.. fabulous everything. (I came to look to see about your sculpture…I think I have to go stretch now, take a walk, start writing …all of the above..YOU are an inspiration!)

    • lizamyers says:

      Thanks Candy! I’m thrilled that now that I’ve switched to WordPress Andy Towl is able to comment on the blog. He has always been an inspiration to me. Time now to get to work!

  5. Iona says:

    How great that your grandfather is a fan!!
    your suggestions are terrific…all so good.

  6. Lynn Bridge says:

    Oh, good ideas! Thanks for sharing them with us.

  7. Cynthia says:

    Love it! I like your way of only holding thoughts of your project. Amazing that you can do that!

  8. Katharine H. says:

    Hey, Liza, I think I remember you starting that painting during one of our Coral Reefs classes. 🙂

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