I recently listened to a programme on Radio 4 called Butterfly Mind, by Scottish playwright, David Grieg, which posed the question, ‘Can a shaman cure writer’s block?’
The programme explained the shamanic world view and took us through Greig’s experience of soul retrieval with a shaman, including finding his spirit animal guide.
The process was effective, insofar that although Grieg still experienced some periods of feeling blocked he no longer felt so worried about it, and his conclusion was that ‘maybe we just need new metaphors.’
Finding new metaphors enables a new understanding of situations, and therefore a new way of experiencing them. Images are bridges to the wider mind of image-ination; the wisdom of instinct, intuition and emotion, that dwarfs and contains the narrow rational viewpoint.
It doesn’t matter what system you use to find these metaphors. Maybe shamanic drumming and chanting will work for you, or maybe the wonderful gifts of your dreams.
Many of my creativity workshops involve some kind of image work. It’s easy, instant, exciting and enjoyable – and very effective. I’ve got two collage workshops coming up for the Society of Authors this autumn, one in London with Lucy Coats, who works in a shamanic way, and the other one in Manchester.
I’ve also scheduled a weekend workshop here in Cornwall in January, because that feels like the perfect time of year to share some image work techniques with writers who want to free up their creativity.
What tricks and techniques do you use to give your creativity a boost? Please share!