My writer’s block solution idea was featured on the Lifehacker blog! It’s so cool that blogger Alan Henry saw it as a solution not just to writer’s block, but to stymied creativity in general… which got me thinking about cheese. Check it.
Alan’s perspective on my post was a subtle twist on my premise, i.e., writer’s block is actually just block. That was a really good reminder for me that once in a while, writer problems aren’t just “writer” problems; they are problems that any thinker or any maker could have, from a painter to a programmer… which means they are problems that any person could have… ’cause most people are making or thinking about something. Their problems might be the same as yours… and their solutions might be your solutions.
In other words, 300 cheers for cross-pollination. The idea you need to solve a puzzle could be hanging out in any discipline.
Do I have a piece I’m working on that’s helpful to think about as a game of tag? Yeah I do, props to kids with skinned knees for showing me how that all works.
Do I have pieces that need to age in the manner of a fine wheel of Stilton, growing pungent blue veins in a unique and highly distinctive way that can’t be rushed? What’s up cheesemongers, way to inspire me with the exact metaphor I needed! Legit, learning how Stilton is made is what it took for me to realize I should leave this one script in a drawer, allowing the bacteria of the ideas to “ripen” undisturbed in darkness for a couple months before I “finished” the piece by pricking the rind and letting in a sudden flood of oxygen and re-writes. The air suddenly bursting through the rind after all that peaceful fermentation is what makes those crazy blue lightning-like streaks grow in Stilton, and it’s exactly what made that play’s dramatic events eventually function. Without that process, that particular play would have sucked. Christ, cheesemongers, I love you guys.
(Sidebar: This is one of my reasons for avoiding the insularity of playwrighting M.F.A. programs. Where would my ideas come from if I mostly listened to a bunch of theater-centric, highly literate, high-achieving, and upwardly mobile brainy playwrighting teachers and playwrighting students for a couple of years? That kind of environment is no place to grow a funky mold. Most programs make more of an effort towards “diversity” than they used to, but I maintain that even though it’s great to bring more exotic plants into the zoo habitat that is M.F.A. academia, it’s better to just, like, live and write in a naturally diverse eco-system, and make my work in, like, the actual wild.)
I could talk more about my personal relationship to both cheese and academia, but I won’t, because I care about keeping you interested. GET OUT OF YOUR NAVEL, MEGAN. FIGHT THE NAVEL-GAZING. Wait, scratch that– after all, it’s not just about me— LET’S ALL GET OUT OF THE NAVEL. If you want to make work that other people can relate to, it’s so crucial it is to try and stay out of one’s own navel, despite the incredible gravitational pull of the belly button. Your problems are everyone’s problems, not just writer problems. Your solutions are, too. Just ask Lifehacker.
To get inspired, try listening to someone who spends most of their time thinking about different stuff than you do. For extra credit, try explaining what you do to someone who does something totally different– it will make you both smarter.
Here’s the Lifehacker feature on my post: “Beat Creativity Blocks by Embracing Your Bad Ideas.”
– Xoxo Megan