I am blocked creatively, but I don’t know what my problem is



The Context

Voldemort become an iconic villain for this very reason. Every witch or wizard dared not utter his name. Doing so would break protective enchantments and cause a magical disturbance in which the death eaters could track them. Only those serious enough about magic could stand up to the dark lord and say his name. The rest averted their gaze and referred to him with monikers like, he who must not be named. Such a perfect personification of fear.

The Tool

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LANGUAGING -- Wrapping your emotions into words so you have a handle for overcoming creative blocks effectively

Creativity is active listening. That's all it is. Naming what you feel, and then making the word flesh. Channeling your emotions into some kind of tangible thing. But where most people get blocked is with their linguistic fear. The reason they're not taking action on their creative projects is because they can't wrap their feelings in words. Could be shameful, uninspired, resentful, apathetic, whatever. No language, no leverage. Naming is a way of making our emotions feel seen. We bring them into existence. Making the invisible visible and easier to channel into a creative yield. Doesn't that sound healthier and more useful than making the dark lord literally unspeakable? The best part is, any time we specifically label our issues along the creative journey, it affords us the opportunity for a different kind of control. Naming anything is what loosens its hold on us. Now, that doesn't mean it will instantly evaporate upon being labeled, but it's a good first step. In the same vein that we don't have to be great to get started but we have to get started to be great, so goes our creative lives. Most people respond to their creative blocks not by noticing and naming them, but by developing anxiety and depression. You can break the pattern. If you can name it, then you can claim it, tame it and reframe it into something that has real economic value in the world. If only for an audience of one.

It once took me an entire month to finally name my own feelings. There was a period around age thirty when creative blocks were a daily struggle for about a month straight. Couldn't generate single new idea, good or bad, for four weeks straight. First time in my entire life. And it was all due to a profound sense of loneliness and disconnection. Those were the feelings my brain didn't want me to name, for fear of that they might engulf me. But once my language clarified, once it occurred to me that I had spent my twenties isolating myself through workaholism and a toxic romantic relationship, new ideas slowly started returning. That’s the danger of linguistic fear. We surrender our authentic power by not naming something. What's your version of that? What feelings are you afraid to announce to yourself? In my experience, it only by naming our demons do we lift their curse and ferret out their secret identities. It sounds counterintuitive, but taking the trouble to actually know the names of our problems is a way of paying them respect. By wrapping them with language, calling them out and describing them to ourselves and others, we insist that they're possible.

The Rest

If you're wondering why you haven't created anything in days, weeks or months or years, perhaps it's a failure of active listening. There is some invisible thing that needs language to live. Maybe you aren't making the word flesh because you aren't naming what you feel. No language, no leverage. What is your thing that shall not be named?

The Benefits

Identify our own problems faster
Generate more power behind new ideas
Increase feelings of control over emotions
Reframe your feelings to have real economic value in the world

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