Author John McPhee recently wrote an amusing piece in The New Yorker about crafting first drafts and overcoming that dreaded beast that eventually (whether we want to admit it or not) befalls all creative types: the cursed block. You know, that nightmarish "condition" when a writer/author/copywriter is suddenly paralyzed and unable to produce new work. The Block, as I call it, isn't new to me. I still wake up in cold sweats from internalized fear about unfinished college term papers. And the trouble is that there a dozen different kinds. I'm typically a victim of #7—my nasty Inner Critic.
McPhee's take on this age-old (and, yes, entirely self-imposed) dilemma got me thinking about how my own struggle with writer's block has changed since working at a startup. I typically deal by visiting the office candy jar for a chocolate-related reprieve or taking a walk around the block or just focusing my attention to another project for the day, hoping and praying that the creative juices will start to flow. But sometimes there's just not time for that 'ZinePak. Not just because deadlines loom (they always do), but because it's the nature of entrepreneurship and building a successful business. Stumbling blocks are the name of the game. You have to deal and move on. Maintaining momentum and plowing forward, no matter how tough the obstacle (be it creating the perfect turn of phrase or finding funding), is the spirit of innovation and therefore creativity.
While searching some "cures" I came across this article about 5 big creative blocks to successful businesses and most of them are easily applicable to an editor who may feel like she's reached the proverbial end of her creative rope. Sometimes we just need to be reminded that "Failures are part of development and growth, they help us learn and improve, and are a sign that you are actually achieving something rather than just sitting around wasting time. In other words, failure isn't fatal."
So, even if the sentence I've been staring down, analyzing, and re-tweaking for an hour still isn't perfect, it's better than nothing and it WILL get me to the next phase of the process, no matter how far away that seems. It's a lesson any smart entrepreneur already knows. Onward, forward, upward, success.