A Creative Catalyst

Sometimes my brain feels stuck. I have a hard time coming up with new ideas, and I feel a general sense of stagnation. Dissatisfaction. Boredom.

I found myself in such a mood yesterday while I was in my room. I just felt so… bleh. I even did a bunch of push-ups and sit-ups, but nothing would shake the malaise.

It wasn’t until I left my room to go grocery shopping that I snapped out of it. I got in my car, put on Clockwork Angels at the appropriate volume, and started driving. Within minutes, I had an idea about something I wanted to write about. I jotted it down with Pop. A little while later, I thought of something else. And then something else. Before I had even arrived at the grocery store, I had a small handful of new ideas.

And I thought to myself, “Isn’t that funny?” All I had to do was start driving.

A creative block can have many solutions. Sometimes it pays to just sit in silence and think — to enter an oasis of quiet — until the ideas deep within us bubble to the surface. This sort of inspiration is internal.

But sometimes we need to look outside ourselves. In my case, sitting in my room wasn’t cutting it. It wasn’t until I got outside, in motion, that I was reminded of everything that existed outside my little room — including some things I could write about. The music, the sky, traffic, other people… observing all of these things — none of which were in my room — jumpstarted my brain and caused it to think differently. Suddenly, I wasn’t grasping for ideas in space. The ideas presented themselves to me, and I was fortunate enough to receive them.

I suppose this is a roundabout way of saying that inspiration doesn’t always have to be summoned from within. We can perhaps find it just outside the door. But then again, inspiration isn’t just over there, waiting for us to go get it. Rather, whatever’s over there may have the potential to stir something within us, something that leads to the next idea.

Instead of trying to squeeze water from a rock, consider the possibility that it may take something outside yourself to rekindle your creativity. You may be in need of a catalyst.

When stuck, take a ride.

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