Friends, have you been experiencing a decline in creativity? Are you suffering burnout from trying to deliver a creative project on a deadline year after year after year?
Not me. We’re talking about you here. But, let’s just say, hypothetically, it IS me and I no longer feel that achy breaky need to create. Where did the mojo go go? And is it ever going to return?
Not to worry! Because according to experts in these matters the answer is as close as the nearest blank wall! No, don’t do regrettable things with crayons on it. Just stare at it. For 15 minutes. Yes! That’s all there is to it.
Again, I have no such creative blockages but in the interest of science and because we all know I’m a GIVER, I decided to take the advice I heard on an NPR segment with an art educator and a digital anthropologist (yeah, I don’t know what that is either) who think overstimulation is the enemy of creativity.
“The mind needs time to wander to reignite the creative spark,” said art educator and author Sarah Urist Green.
Rahaf Harfoush agreed. We must just stare at a wall for 15 minutes. “No screens, no emails, no audiobooks,” she said.
Challenge accepted, Rahaf and Sarah! As someone who has heard and read about others experiencing the so-called “writer’s block,” I decided it wouldn’t hurt to stare at a wall in my dining room for 15 minutes. Here’s how it went.
1 p.m.: First up, set the timer on my phone to 15 minutes. Now, move the phone out of reach, find the right wall and commence staring. I can feel the creative juices starting to bubble up! Oops. False alarm, that was the extra bacon and cheese I put on my potato soup an hour ago. Why did I do that? I need Tums. When this is over, I will Google gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms. Again.
1:02 p.m.: This is fantastic! That was a fast 15 minutes. Wonder why the alarm didn’t sound. Oh. Only TWO MINUTES HAVE ELAPSED???? How is this possible? I’ve stared at this wall for what feels like an eternity. Deep breaths. Resume Operation Boost Creativity!
1:08 p.m.: Holy Lord. Somebody’s at the door. It’s my painter. I text him “Can’t talk now, staring at a wall.” I will explain this later. For now, he is probably miffed because I just told him, essentially, I’d rather stare at a wall than talk to him. I bet he found some more rot. It’s always rot…
1:10: I feel so bad about that text. I wasn’t supposed to have any screen time during the 15 minutes. I’ve ruined the experiment. I reset to a fresh 15 minutes, pull my chair closer to the blank wall and start over.
1:13: Sweet mother of pearl. Seriously? The dryer has stopped. I should’ve turned it off, of course, but now I really need to just pause the phone timer and give the dryer a quick restart. It’s jeans. Or I wouldn’t do it. OK, yes, I would. This exercise has made me more truthful!
1:15: Since we’re telling the truth, I hate this so much. I’m bored out of my mind. I decide to close my eyes and see if any of those weird floaters surface like lava lamps. That’s better. I wonder if that’s a problem. Some of these floating things are pretty aggressive. They all look like Patrick on Spongebob. Remember him? Maybe I will write a poem about floaters. JK. I hate poetry.
1:20: Whoa. Almost done. This is awesome! Closing my eyes helped but it may have been cheating. OK, five minutes short but I already feel more creative! My neural pathways are verdant with, uh, green stuff. Ugh. Resetting the timer…