On Friday, I taught a Composition Seminar here, and brought up the issue of creative balance alluded to in my recent post, The Components of Musical Experience. While it’s fresh in my mind, this is a good time to share some tips, not only for maintaining balance, but for saying goodbye to writer’s block forever. So here we go:

All of this is based on the four Jungian psychological functions — thinking, feeling, intuition and sensation — I’ve noted before. Everyone is different, but people tend to have one of these four functions as a strong point, and one as a blind spot. Finding your own balance is a very personal affair, but the more you are able to bring all four of these functions into the creative process, the richer your results are likely to be.

Writer’s block — any creative block — typically comes from an over-reliance on one of the four functions. We are all familiar with the feeling of banging our heads against a particular problem without making much progress. I’ve learned that the most effective route to getting past this frustration is to examine the way I am approaching the problem: is my approach too rational? too intuitive? Once I have identified the function I am over-relying on, I try out one of the others.

In composing, for example, you may have an outstanding theoretical concept you can’t seem to bring to fruition. Try improvising (intuition), or think of a powerful sensation you can tap into, eg this passage should sound like a delicate rainfall, and you will often find that the path becomes clear.

Sometimes the front door is locked, but the side door is wide open.

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