I was so tempted to stop today. I was in the middle of creating a new drawing lesson and my scanner had broken. That seemed like one obstacle too many and I wanted to stop and work on something else … or nothing at all! I knew that I could find a way to work without my scanner if I tried, though. There’s always someway to keep going.
I tried a technique I know to persuade my muse to keep going and it worked. Instead of forcing her to plow ahead I waited until there was an opening … an little bit of a desire to get back to the drawing lesson … and I acted on it. I wasn’t harsh. I simply got up and walked over to the drawing lesson and that was enough to set the whole process in motion again.
I learned this technique from a book called No Enemies Within: A Creative Process for Discovering What’s Right About What’s Wrong by Dawna Markova. It has tons of exercises for learning how to be a friend to yourself and not an enemy. The particular exercise that helped me today was one about learning to go with openings instead of forcing things to happen. The author explains how to do this by having you brace one elbow on a table and make a fist with that hand. Then you try to force the fist to move with the other hand. It’s just about impossible to move your fist like that. What does work is holding the fist with the other hand, gently and patiently, until the fist moves a little on its own. When that happens, you just sway with it gently. Soon the fist is swaying back and forth while the other hand gently guides it.
I’m happy to report that it works like that with muses too!
That book is out of print but you can still find it used at Amazon.com. Here is the link if you’re interested: