Geetanjali Mukherjee

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Obstacles to Creativity

Artists, and indeed anyone trying something new, taking some risks, going out on a limb, face obstacles as a matter of course. The only problem is that every time we face them, we are surprised, unprepared and more than a little annoyed at the disruption to our routine and plan.

Obstacles can be in the form of an unexpected event taking precious time away from a deadline, like the family emergency that happened to me at the beginning of the month, taking away 2 whole weeks of precious time from my deadline, and even more time trying to regain my previous momentum. They can be in the form of a sudden illness, or a last minute request from a client or boss, that may threaten to derail your present assignment.
Obstacles may also come up in your creative arsenal – your laptop starts to give trouble, freezes or becomes agonizingly slow just as the last hours of the deadline creep up on you; you discover that you’re out of the exact shade of fabric you needed for a crucial detail; or, as I have been facing for the last few days, you get pain in your fingers and find it difficult to type or hold a pen.
Our tools are everything to us, and when they don’t work or we forget a crucial implement in our toolkit, it can be beyond frustrating. It can be debilitating. The first thought at such a time is to curse, get angry, blame sundry forces that are conspiring against you.

However, I have come to believe that obstacles are actually your friends, in disguise. They are there to test your resolve, to see if you really have what it takes to complete your project, to wow your client and deliver on your promises. It’s not supposed to be a test so you can fail; if you recognise that it’s simply a gut-check time, do you have the conviction in yourself to go all the way, to follow through, then the obstacles transforms into a challenge, something you are anxious to overcome, to triumph over and send packing.  

When the project is over, when you have crossed the finish line, the obstacles that you have overcome are what you will look back on with pride, they will fuel your sense of accomplishment. So look at them with appreciation, and tell yourself that the obstacles you’re facing are actually a sign that you’re getting close to the end, and to your achievement.
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