Are You Stuck? Jam!

Posted: May 24, 2017 in Thoughts on art ministry and life
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So your blocked, you’re stuck, the ideas just aren’t flowing. You want to create, maybe you need to create, but you just don’t know what to create. There’s a deadline looming and there’s just no idea, or maybe you just have some rare free time to create and no idea presents itself. What do you do?

Well let’s take a cue from our musician friends. Let’s start jamming. If you’ve ever hung out with a band, you know there is that time when they’re all trying to tune up and get ready to go. In the days before electronic tuners it was especially bad, a cacophony of different sounds as disparate instruments all try to get their sounds just right. It can be maddening but then something magical happens. Someone gets their sound right and decides to test it out by playing a riff they often just made up on the spot. Someone else likes it and goes along for the ride. Before long the other instruments pick it up and start to improvise and before long a song is born. It’s called jamming and I am sure that multitudes of great songs were written in this way.

How can you apply this to what you do? Well that depends on your discipline. Writers will often free-write. They just begin “riffing”—writing down whatever comes to mind until it eventually begins to coalesce into something useful and then they build on that. Similarly visual artists can start by doodling. The idea is to put off the pressures and the concerns—to clear your mind and just start making something, anything, to shake off the blockage.

You might even want to take the band approach, get a few of your fellow creatives together, start something and pass it on. This kind of group jam very closely mimics what happens in a band jam. As each person adds on, something useful will often emerge and even if it doesn’t, there is a good chance that the act of creating will break your creative block.

Next time you’re blocked, try jamming.


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