Try Less

One thing that I’ve struggled with over the years is this: I want to write a poem, compose a musical piece, or get started on a book, but no matter how hard I try, nothing is working. This is what I’ve learned. Sometimes it’s better to try less.

I think the problem has to do with resistance. If you’ve ever dealt with an addiction or a negative habit you may have experienced this. The harder you try to quit, the more likely you are to relapse. It’s the same thing with creativity. Sometimes, the harder we try to create something, the more resistance we’ll hit.

The answer: try less.

  1. Take breaks. I can be stubborn. But after hours of working on a project only to have a series of false starts, I’ll reach a breaking point. Sometimes, it’s out of frustration. As I’ve grown as an artist, it’s more often a conscious decision. If it’s not working now, why push it. I’ll come back to it tomorrow, or next week.
  2. Break the mold. Another way to try less is to break away from preconceived thinking about a given creative project. One reason I’ve moved toward writing experimental music over traditional songwriting is that it provides me with more creative freedom. It’s the same with writing free-verse poetry instead of poetry with rhyming structure. There are less limitations.

It’s okay to try less. Give yourself permission. Sometimes, when we try less, our greatest works will come out of the blue. Go ahead and try it. Less pressure. Go ahead. Try less. – dse

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Author: Dan Steven Erickson

Dan Steven Erickson is a great undiscovered American songwriter.