Creative Slumps

Conquer Creative Slumps Effectively

Conquer Creative Slumps Effectively with Jess Hess

I’d like to start by talking about a window. A broken window, specifically. A man by the name of Nathan Howe introduced this idea with his own story of a broken window, wherein a child threw a ball through his window and shattered it, so they boarded it up. The thought of fixing the window was daunting. He’d never repaired a windowpane and he wouldn’t even know where to start.

Daily he thinks of this window and how it needs to be repaired, but the idea of doing something he doesn’t know how to do weighs on him so heavily that he puts this task off for a long time, while the guilt and annoyance of his creative slumps grows. He could hire someone, but he had already convinced himself that was unnecessary because this task would be easy if he could just make time to do it. This minuscule task had become so large and prevalent in his mind, and what seemed daunting before now seemed completely impossible. That was, until he fixed it.

Fifteen minutes and one video tutorial later and he had fixed it. This year-long battle with himself was now over. No more guilt or worry. It was more painful thinking about doing the thing than it was just doing the thing. His mind made a monster out of a mouse, and it resonated with me deeply for my own broken windows. And I don’t mean that as a metaphor, I mean that literally; my house is filled with broken windows. I know his story was meant to be interpreted in a plethora of different ways, but hey, the broken window hit the nail on the head.

I live in a 100-year-old church and the care of this property is quite honestly insane. I can learn to fix a windowpane just as Nathan did, sure. But the thing is that I also have a leaky belltower in need of repair. I have broken gutters, falling plaster and cracking tiles. I have an entire list of things that are equally as important as the broken windows in my home. I’ll have to wear many different hats to tackle all those projects, much like business owners who don many different hats to run the various parts of their businesses.

When I purchased the property, many of the broken windows were covered in black plastic to keep some semblance of separation between the inside and the outside. The plastic worked well enough, with some obvious downfalls. There was no light coming through the windows and it felt suffocating. A gentle breeze would rattle the plastic in ways that only became annoying after hearing them every day for months. A big gust of wind would always find its way through the barrier and winter storms could come inside if they wanted to. But I couldn’t fix all the windows because I still didn’t know how. I could hire out for them, but I couldn’t afford it, especially with many of these windows being original stained glass. The windows weren’t yet important enough to be tackled, but damn, I couldn’t stand that black plastic anymore.

Creative Slumps

Get the full story

To read the full article, launch the digital version of the October 2021 magazine.