When you ‘hit the wall’ in the creative process – and also the normal problem solving process – it hurts! It’s that uncomfortable place my friend describes as feeling restless. I describe it as a scratchy feeling – kinda like a tortoise flipped onto its shell and struggling to right itself. Not a nice place to be.
It turns out it’s a really good place to be. Jonah Lehrer describes in Imagine: How Creativity Works that “hitting the wall” happens when your brain has exhausted all the obvious solutions, gone down all “the usual” thinking paths and come up short. Hitting the wall should be a welcome event because it’s only then that the brain starts making unusual associations, looking around corners and into dark seldom used places to find solutions. This greatly increases your chances of coming up with a creative solution.
Bring on the wall!