Blue Moon Creativity Quirks

by Barbara Martin

in How to Tips


The more I read and experience and observe creative people, the more I notice how we get in our own way and limit our creativity by imposing rules about the conditions we require in order to create. We might be convinced we can only create using specific tools or in a certain setting or under certain conditions. Do any of the following requirements sound familiar to you?
I only write well at the coffee shop and using my favorite pen; I only paint well using this brand of paint and this kind of lighting; I only sing well with this particular microphone and my favorite editing program.
I can’t shoot without the right background music; I can’t do comedy unless I drink a few beers first; I can’t do sketches unless I have the perfect paper and my secret recipe chai tea in the magical mug from Bali.
I only work when I have a minimum of three hours uninterrupted time; I only feel creative when I am at a workshop; I only feel like working when I am on a week-long retreat at a spa surrounded by like-minded people. I only create when the moon is blue.
What’s your personally quirky requirement for creating?
Talisman, Ritual, and Structure Support Creativity
Now I would not out and out disregard the idea that a talisman or lucky charm or ritual or mantra or incantation or affirmation can help you feel some control over the situation and help you to proceed with the task at hand feeling more confident than you might otherwise, or that a change of scenery can help you slide your way into that necessary creative trance. I accept that a routine habit and a supportive structure and having the right tools and materials can help us be more consistent in our efforts. I encourage you to experiment with finding what works for you.
Excuse, Reason or Choice: Can’t, Don’t or Won’t Create

But if you find yourself constantly making excuses based on these kinds of external factors, stop and reflect. Be honest with yourself. What’s really going on here?

Where is the line between I can’t, I don’t and I won’t?

Feeling Free to Create

What would happen if you questioned your beliefs about the conditions under which you are able to be creative? Would you have more freedom to create, if you shifted some of those beliefs?

How would that freedom feel?

Never Say Never!

Remember that we are able to grow and change over time. What has been true in the past might not be true now, and it certainly doesn’t have to be true in the future.

If you found insight here, please tweet this post. Thanks!





Barbara Martin June 16, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Apologies for the craptastic spacing on this post. My excuse-of-the-day today is “I CAN’T SEE TO WRITE RIGHT ON THIS TEEEEENY NotEBOOK.” But, at least I got over myself to post. So I am totally counting this as a win. :)

Wendy Edsall-Kerwin June 16, 2010 at 1:46 pm

I know that sometimes I make excuses about why I can’t get into my studio. Usually along the lines of the weather or chores that need done. I find that if I force myself to go in anyway, I’ll eventually get into the mood and find my productivity.
As far as need a specific tool in order to accomplish my work that day. Sometimes I really do need (or would at least really prefer) to use a particular tool for the job at hand. I try not to let it stop me, but sometimes things are just so much harder, or take longer to do without the right tool. If I can’t afford it, I try to make what I can. Other times I just have to find a different way to do things and that can lead to more creative decisions in the long run.

Barbara Martin June 17, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Hi Wendy — Terrific observations about your working style, thank you! Your description doesn’t sound like the blue moon kind of self-limiting, to me. Especially when you point out that finding another way to do something can lead to creative solutions! :)

Natalie March 4, 2012 at 1:04 pm

I listen to music when I write, i find that it helps to encourage my mind into a place of flow, much like a mantra in meditation. However if I have a brilliant idea for a scene or passage I can just drop everything and write. Personally I don’t like working like that, I like my ideas to come when called for, which is why I use music, at the moment Baroque opera. When I put the music on, and sit down it is a signal to my creative brain to start working, a bit like a Pavlovian dog.

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