The creative silence experienced during writer’s block can take place within any artistic genre or idiom outside of the literary arts and can be particularly agonizing in the wake of deadlines for deliverables due. Regardless of how many accommodations are made in time and space, the first note or sketch of a new work can remain a no-show—the frustration of which can further hamper the creative process, with an artist seemingly being trolled and antagonized by their own gift. In the wake of looming deadlines and creative deliverables due, what can artists and creatives do to maximize periods of rest notes during the creative process towards productivity?
There are multiple strategies available towards resolving creative silence at various stages of the creative process. Among them, the practice of downsizing creative projects into more edible pieces can sometimes prove helpful, making creative silence less threatening. Another tactic utilized by creatives is in the application of distance against time in order to speed the creative process. This is achieved through an artist distancing themselves from a project with the plan to revisit a work at a later date—with the hope that the distance over time will refresh the eye towards spotting creative ideas and solutions. In other instances, artists may sometimes double-time their creative efforts through immersion in other art forms outside of their primary instrument to lessen the pressure in meeting the demands of the blank page--with the goal of refueling creative thought and insight.
In addition to the above-mentioned, a key strategy in successfully maximizing creative silence is in artists and creatives recognizing and coming into alignment with its power. Within music, rest notes are musical values employed to denote purposeful silence and rest within bars of music, providing dimension and shape to a musical work. Alternatively, the rest notes or silence within the creative process hold an innate power and value—a confirmation of an artist’s creativity resting in power in its organic state. Those rest notes, as demonstrated in music, precede and provide room for the conception, introduction and birthing of sound—a process that cannot be manhandled or short-skirted. When creative silence is honored and nurtured in humility with faith and expectation, it sets the stage for the germination and shaping of creative ideas and their growth into final form over time.
In parallel, within scripture, this same power of rest and creative silence was demonstrated through the life of Christ—the word of God through which all things were created. His humanity was conceived in a state of rest through the power of the Creator, providing the gateway towards the manifestation of his creative power and greatness on earth, per the angel Gabriel’s announcement of his birth to his mother Mary:
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and God’s power will rest upon you--He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God.”
The manifestation of Christ’s creative power through his humanity was facilitated through a resting in power preceding the silence of his conception. Christ exhibited this same resting in power throughout his life and ministry, in his outreach to heal and mend the lives of those around him. The momentary rest notes of silence in his crucifixion and transference in death were made audible, as he committed his spirit back into the Creator’s hand towards the salvation of humanity, preceding his resurrection.
Academy award winning actor and artist Mahershala Ali previously shared his thoughts on the value and importance of creative silence for artists in the age of social media:
“Social media has colonized what was once a sacred space occupied by emptiness: the space reserved for thought and creativity.”
When artists and creatives reframe the rest notes of the creative process as notes of creative value rather than bars of obstruction, they set the stage for creative power to take shape.