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  • Writer's pictureMehli Romero

The Virus: Creative Block

Updated: Jul 26, 2022

For the past couple of months I was burdened with writers block. To be honest, I’d never really experienced this kind of obstacle and all I have to say is I’m happy to be emerging from this terribly dark hole. Writers block is vicious and it can happen to designers and artists alike. I’m not entirely sure I understand how I dug myself into this rut to begin with, however, I’ve come to learn how to break the bands which have been tied around my hands. Alas, the rise of the sun in this endless night.

The first step, just like in any other kind of problem, is realizing there is one. At first I was in major denial, however, as weeks passed and then months I came to face the fact that I had written… nothing. Not once had I picked up my poetry notebook. I hadn’t even glanced at my various journals neatly lined up on my pine bookshelf. Frankly, I was horrified at the thought of accepting I had fallen prey to my imprisoned mind because as an architectural designer blocks are much more than an alarming signifier of our lack of creativity, they are disabling, for me anyway. I say this because our line of work, whether we are students or practicing professionals, makes up a huge part of who we are. Our creative drive, which becomes more innate each time we pick up a pencil, instrument, mouse, or brush, has come to define a part of our identity, or so we would hope so. In any case without my creativity a part of me is lost. Losing a side of yourself is never fun, although at times it is a necessary experience in our journeys. In my case I’ve learned the importance of coming to terms with what I was bearing and that there is always hope of reaching the end as the trial is tackled.

For some overcoming the block requires time, and for others it asks of us great effort and sacrifice. For me, in the last couple of months, it has been a mixture of both. I lacked the motivation and the inspiration. I’ve recently found motivation in deadlines which I would have never expected because I passionately dislike them. They make me anxious to the point where I can’t breathe, which to say the least is kind of dramatic, but unfortunately, my brain starts to shut down as the hour of turn in approaches. Strangely enough, with the startup of school in the last month, I’ve found myself writing again because of deadlines, I must grudgingly admit (my pride will always be a rock in my path I’ll have to kick out of my way). Try setting yourself a deadline and have someone hold you accountable, especially if you aren’t a student. One thing I’ve come to accept which has opened my mind to the nature of deadlines is that in their pure form they are goals, goals with a timer. Poor Captain Hook is always being chased after the ticking crocodile, a physical manifestation of a deadline. Maybe that’s why deadlines make me anxious...

On to my last point. Encouragement from others has also helped, however, encouragement alone does not move me to act. Although I appreciate the assistance of all of my wise friends and family. So where did my inspiration come from? Typically all of my ideas come from the outside world, however, in the last couple of months my body has been limited to the same spaces. I’ve seen nor experienced anything new. And this is the thought and belief which has crippled me because not all creativity stems from physically experiencing. No, it can come from reading. I know there are so many out to there who may not like to read, the majority in fact. However, reading doesn’t always mean picking up a novel. There is a large range of literature out there, and my saving grace was a magazine called Magnolia by Joanna Gaines. I strongly recommend subscribing. Joanna has amazing insights and knowledge to share. Her magazines contain short articles which have reignited my mind with concepts and various perceptions. This magazine may not be your solution but maybe another will. There are many books out there which shape a fonder atmosphere in preparation for the design and these include comics, old fashioned playbills, historical accounts with fading photographs of the past, etc. These magazines and books I’ve recently purchased are also in paper/hard copy because I think they’ve aided me in taking a break from technology.

Thank you deadlines and Magnolia. You’ve lent a hand in bringing me out of the dark.

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