Hitting the wall

Marathon runners sometimes talk about “hitting the wall” when their body wants to shut down at a certain point. This can also happen in a creative pursuit where the canvas/page/computer monitor/music staff seem to be staring back at you with nothing new to offer. In times like these I try to do one of two things:

  1. Start doing something – anything, that has to do with your assignment. For example, if you’re writing on a topic and nothing is gelling, start writing about how it feels to be the topic. Type anything. How would it feel? What color is it? How much would it cost? How big is it? Does it have friends? How old is it? Just think of random questions that are associated with the topic at hand. Or…
  2. If you hit a wall, temporarily find another wall. In other words, put the current project away and go do something totally unrelated. Watch a cartoon or read a scientific journal or run a half mile or buy some Vanilla Wafers at the grocery store. Do anything that gets your mind totally and completely off your creative assignment. But remember to specify the amount of time you’re taking off so you come back to it at some point.


Almost every time I go by this tree I photograph it. Something about it intrigues me.