Monday, March 26, 2012

The Joy of Stuckness

For a long time, I insulated myself from stuckness.

I executed, day in and day out, without the slightest hint of resistance, without the mere possibility of shooting blanks. I was on a never ending creative tear, rarely coming up for air, rarely questioning whether the volume of work was dangerously high.

And it paid off. I impressed people, made good money and built an artistic identity predicated on unmanageable productivity.

But eventually, I hit a point of diminishing returns. Even though I was pumping out piles of work, much of which was great stuff, I was still skimming off the top instead of mining from the bottom. It was execution without elevation.

I was terminally productive. Borderline inhuman. The work was too easy and the art came too quickly, because I wasn’t operating close enough to my edge. And the art wasn’t as strong as it could have been.

Until this past year, when I began experiencing more moments of stuckness, more battles with resistance, than ever before. Almost on a weekly basis, I found myself facing a blank page with nothing to say, and no desire to say it. I found myself not wanting to get out of bed to go face the world. And since my identity was so wrapped up in that never happening to me, the stuckness shredded me to ribbons.

Anxiety attacks, rampant cynicism, thoughts about quitting, even full on waves of depression, I hated it and I hated myself.

And it was the best thing that ever happened to me.

Turns out, getting stuck is a beautiful, healthy and necessary part of the creative process.

First, it’s an indication of accuracy. It means we’re on the right track. Resistance, after all, is most ferocious when we’re doing work that’s most vital to our soul’s evolution. If we never feel it, something’s wrong.

Second, it’s an indication of progress. When we treat our stuckness as a gateway to deeper, bloodier layers of creative expression, the ones we never could have reached when everything was gravy, our work becomes truer and better than ever before.

Third, it’s an indication of humanity. We can only scrub our lives clean of heartbreak for so long. Eventually, we’ve got to do some time. Every princess gets locked in a tower for a little while. And when it happens, gratitude is the only response.

Now that I know these things, I can’t wait to get stuck again. It means I’m finally making progress.

And those moments of total numbness, when I seem to have lost my excitement for the world, I remember that the heaviest burden is having nothing to carry.

And I give thanks.

It’s about time nothing happened.

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* * * *
Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Writing, Publishing, Performing, Consulting
scott@hellomynameisscott.com

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