iPhone poetry and Snapchat performance art: creator’s block in the city

I want to preface this by saying that I don’t necessarily believe in writer’s/creator’s block. That’s not to say I don’t believe that there are times when you can’t seem to create, even though you may want to or you know you have to. ‘Cause trust me, I’ve been there: crying in my professor’s office because I couldn’t write a poem or even manage to focus on a writing exercise. And that can, and will, happen in NYC, no exception.

All that being said: I think creator’s block forces you to change your habits. Your creative process might feel stagnant because it’s become routine, habitual, and kind of boring. That may mean it’s time to take a break from committing to a tangible product and just letting your ideas stew. Turn up your favorite album and clean your room: let your brain and your body loosen up. And if something comes to mind in your wind-down? Jot down ideas and notes on Post-Its around your room (insert here: a formal apology to all my former roommates).

Creator’s block may call for a change of scenery: taking your journal, notebook, sketchpad, camera, etc. to a park, a library, a café, the subway. Whether you’re plugged in to headphones or listening to the city around you: look, watch, listen. Get out of your own head. You might find inspiration in the way a stranger wears their scarf, a barista’s hipster glasses, the way a man dances while waiting for his train, in eyeshadow palettes or lipstick swatches at Sephora.

Sometimes it takes a change of sound, maybe listening to the Hamilton soundtrack for the umpteenth time isn’t really all that conducive (if it is, more power to you). Try another album or watch a movie, even if it’s just on in the background. Fun fact: My Chemical Romance played Blade Runner on loop while in the studio for The Black Parade after finally taking a break from B-rate horror films, and that album undeniably kicked ass. Just saying.

Sometimes it means letting ideas hit you when you’re not in “creator’s space,” outside of that dedicated time you have for writing or drawing or what have you. It can mean finding your new medium in Twitter rants turned song lyrics, Snapchat filters turned self-portrait, iPhone notes turned poems. Sometimes, creator’s block can be your creative brain screaming to look somewhere else.

And sometimes, your hands are just tired.


Written by Ellen Koppy




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