Sunday, April 28, 2013

Beyond the Wall of Terror

I’m not posting much these days. I started this blog to cure a wretched case of writer’s block, which wasn’t just affecting my writing. It was my visual art, too. It was my visual art especially, in fact, though I wasn’t getting any books finished, either. I’m in a very good creative place these days, and so my spare moments are easily filled with non-blogging creative activity.

But a little over two years ago, being back in this good creative place was all but impossible to imagine. Writing was—at best—difficult, and the mere thought of drawing or painting made me nauseous. I had grown frustrated and desperate creatively, and almost everything I tried to draw or paint (if I even dared try) seemed only to bolster those feelings. I was sitting slumped against the Wall of Terror that causes so much creative paralysis, trying to scramble over it, or using my head as a battering ram. Something had to give, and it was not going to be my desire to make things; it would have to be the Wall.

And then, quite suddenly, just when I really needed it, things began to shift.     
So much of my creative time since then has been about reaching out, opening up, and simply walking through the Wall. I’m finding it’s not that hard if you set a small goal and a firm deadline, and only focus on those. Having strong, like-minded allies is vital, too.

From illustration for NESCBWI poster contest 2013.
Sure, taking a chance, creating your soul out, and exposing your work can be as emotionally treacherous as they are joyful, but on this side of the wall is only stagnation, disappointment, and then bitterness. After all, if life’s end is your only deadline, you can have no concerns about making it.

I am off to the New England SCBWI regional conference on Friday, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ve submitted a piece for the poster illustration competition. Huzzah! That fact alone speaks volumes. So if and when I reach it again, I must remember the Wall of Terror is like a membrane—stretchy, transparent, and porous; just look a little beyond it and push gently.