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Spring 2021 ︎︎︎ SUNY Purchase ︎︎︎ (DES4991) Senior Project II

Approaching Creative Blocks / Setbacks


Inevitably as you’re working on your project something may backfire, something may not go as you expected, and you’ll have to strategize around that. I’m obviously there to talk but you may also need to reorient yourself or “dig deep” in sports terminology. Another way to talk about this is that “inspiration” isn’t a thing, or that you should keep “working”/ create patterns for yourself so that you’re ready when inspiration “strikes.” All that being said, keep tabs on your mental health and try to maintain a heal

Zappa’s Advice

This hit me at the right time, but I’ve always liked Frank Zappa’s advice to young musicians; obviously it is vague enough to apply to a multitude of fields. If you’ve heard him talk before this is one of the more wholesome quotes from him.

Moebius + Jodorowsky

This is more specifically about “starting” but also speaks to the idea of picking something back up and approaching from another perspective, and trusting the knowledge that you already have. The relevant clip here is around 06:05

Art & Fear by David Bayles (.PDF)︎

I read this in grad school and although it is a bit on the self-help side, I found it interesting and relatively helpful. I have a physical copy somewhere if you feel you need it. Below is the entire book in audio form:

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield (.PDF)︎

I feel like a bit of a poser, I haven’t read this book but I hear this referenced a lot by motivational bros like Joe Rogan. I’m also putting this here in case it is interesting to you, and so it will force me to read it. Here is the entire book in audio form:

Conceptual Blockbusting (.PDF)︎

Here’s another one that I’m putting here to force myself to read it. This one I’ve heard more from the perspective of software developers. It is framed more under the aegis of solving problems, which might feel too concrete depending on your perspective. 

Oblique Strategies︎

The above link is to a website that will randomly show you one of the cards from Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies; a deck of cards (pictured above) meant to help deal with creative issues. Some of them are vague and open to interpretation (“disconnect from desire”) and some are quite practical (“turn it upside down”). My favorite is honor thy error as a hidden intention.

Leverage Social Media to help you

If you’re feeling down about frustrations related to the the state of your project. One helpful strategy I would recommend is to use social media to help you out. I specifically have certain cat accounts on instagram set up to send notifications to my phonewhen they create new posts in case I’m ever sad when I get them. I also really like this wholesome encouraging cat from tiktok.

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