Feeling in one of my creative cooking moods--I didn't have time to shop and was relying on whatever-I-have-on-hand--I couldn't help thinking how similiar creative cooking is to writing. I believe that desperation, as in hovering, hungry family, results in creativity. And, not just any creative spirit but a genuine genius. Putting together a tasty meal of chicken wings, broccoli and rice is a challenge when there is a vegan who won't eat chicken and a carnivore who won't eat broccoli.
I was pondering the fact that there are writers facing imminent deadlines and managing to cobble together fact and fiction to create a fabulous tale. With looming deadlines, there's always that element of desperation.
As the chief cook, I sometimes run out of creative ideas and resort to the ubiquitous "take-out." However, with writing, a writer doesn't have that option. And if there is a pending deadline, sometimes desperate measures can fail. What do you do?
You can always go on the offensive first--"Today? You want the story today?"--or you can pray that inspiration will hit you like a bolt of lightning. But your chances of being hit by lightning is as slim as feeling creative when inspiration just isn't there.
My solution is to catch up on 3-days of unread newspapers; skim through that stack of newsmagazines you had set aside for later; take a power walk; work out on the elliptical and eat lots of chocolate. Not just any chocolate will do. I'm looking at the robust, 72% dark chocolate--the kind with that deliciously dark Belgian chocolate smell when you peel away the wrapper. The kind of chocolate giving you that mellow glow, banishing any worrisome thoughts from your mind. The kind of rich, robust chocolate that unlocks the imagination, capturing the rhythm and flow of words. Writer's block is an opportunity to move away from the desk. It is not a forever condition. Other writers may have their own solutions for this temporary creative block, but I find chocolate, especially the dark Belgian kind, does help. And, if it doesn't, at least you will have had a tasty, yet brief respite from the computer.