A new book collects the wisdom of designers, artists, and writers on how to court the muse. It’s one of the most dreaded moments in the life of a creative person. The muse packs her bags, walks out the door, and doesn’t leave word as to when she’ll come back.
Many of us, myself included, sink into a deep, dark despair filled with doubt and worry. Does she just need a weekend away, or has she gone on a round-the-world cruise? Hell, was she ever there in the first place, or have you been deluding yourself in thinking that you were actually talented.
The easy thing to do, especially when a deadline is looming, is to lose perspective. The harder but much more productive mindset is to realize that you--and virtually everyone you respect and admire--have overcome blocks in the past. You might even say that it’s part of the process. So have a lot of successful people you think never have such problems producing work. Anyone who tells you they don’t encounter creative block is either not passionate about what they do or is stealing someone else’s ideas,” asserts the graphic designer Mike McQuade. He, along with 89 others, from Nicholas Felton to Debbie Millman, have contributed their encouraging words to Breakthrough!, a new book edited by Alex Cornell compiling advice on how to clear creative hurdles. Most seem to agree with this strategy: When you hit a wall, don’t stew; change course. And as soon as you find yourself engaging in some other activity and forgetting the muse, she just might reappear.
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