Sometimes in our efforts to produce more content, we end up draining our creative energy. We begin to run on empty and fall short on creative energy and ideas.
When we look around us, frustration can grow inside of us that we’re not producing like we’d like to be. Everyday, there seems to be new ebooks and print books being released, online courses and blogs being launched.
We can get to the point where we feel like we’re stuck in the middle of the flurry of activity with social networking, blogging, promotion and all the while we’re feeling drained inside.
It doesn’t take much to get swept up in the fast moving river of production schedules and deadlines. As much as we love to write, creating articles, books and other products that we’re passionate about, sometimes we forget to fill our own creative well.
In the past few weeks, in the frantic pace I’ve set for myself, I’ve lost focus on what’s important. In the busy-ness I’ve slipped into “auto” mode and have been left feeling empty and drained of my creativity.
So, how do you bring heart and soul back into your life as a artist?
Combining Playtime with Worktime…
Somewhere along the way, we’ve been duped into believing that hard work mixed with very long hours is the only way to be successful.
Not true. The end result of going down that path, is draining what little creativity we have left. The answer is to combine – or simply add – playtime to our worktime.
Being busy doesn’t necessarily mean you are being productive.
Life is a journey, not a destination. In all we do as artists, we should enjoy the process. Savor your writing times. Have fun as you edit. Relish the fact that you get to create something from nothing. Love what you’re learning and that you can help others along the way.
I’m guilty of being too busy and not adding playtime to my worktime. I go as hard as I can – focussed on a specific project – and then I’m left drained. So, I’m taking more time to rethink my goals as a indie author and author entrepreneur and to choose to do more activities that add to my creativity.
How do we refill our creativity when we’re coasting on empty?
5 Tips to Help Fill Your Creative Well
In her book The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron explains that if artists want to have a hope of continuing to pour out our creative ideas, we must fill our creative wells.
The ideas in this book resonated with me so much that I decided to try them for myself. And I must say that I noticed the benefits right away.
Honestly, I’ve kindof slipped a bit in the past few weeks, which is really the reason for this post. As writers, we’re in the trenches together and I’m hoping some of these ideas help you and me both to get back on track.
So, start here. Take a deep breath and remember your why. Write down your reasons for writing the books you do, or creating that class or blogging about that topic. Then explore these ideas on how to refill your drained creativity.
1.Start by writing Morning Pages. Each morning, write 3 pages of handwritten notes on whatever thoughts comes to you. Don’t let your inner editor tell you not to write down certain things… just ignore that nagging critic. Write all the positive and negative thoughts alike. As I’ve done this for about 20 to 30 minutes each morning, I’ve been amazed at the freedom it’s given me to focus on writing and other projects throughout the day. Seriously, try this. You won’t regret it.
2.Take your inner creative child on a artist date once a week. I’ve loved this. In this exercise go alone somewhere, without turning your date into doing chores(grocery shopping) and just do something fun for yourself. Do anything that’s not related to work, that you love. Take a sketching class, go to a movie, walk in the mountains or go to a museum… whatever you want. By putting yourself in new and unique situations you’re filling your creative well with fresh ideas and inspiration. Sometimes I go to the Dollar Store and find lots of inspiration there.
3.Try something new even if it means doing it badly. Sometimes when you’re blocked or creatively empty as an artist, it’s because you feel like you need to guarantee that the work you do will be done perfectly. It’s unrealistic to demand that level of expectation. Once you’re willing to accept that anything worth doing might even be worth doing badly, you give ourself the freedom to broaden your horizons and possibilities. Ask and answer this question for yourself: “If I didn’t have to do it perfectly, I would try…. ” Writing that Science Fiction novel or thriller novel; learning another language; reading my poetry in public; dyeing my hair.. and other ideas. Go head. Try something new that you’ve thought of, and let yourself make mistakes along the way.
4.Colour in a Children’s or Adult Colouring Book, or draw something. This might sound crazy, but I’ve found that colouring with my teenage girls in a one of their old children’s colouring books, gets the creative juices flowing. I really like this Creative Haven Whimsical Gardens Coloring Book (Creative Haven Coloring Books) too. There’s something about coloring flowers and feeling like you’re in the country that is inspiring. I also like to draw – even though I’m horrible at it. It’s fun to see some new ideas show up on a blank page.
5.Read the books you love, just for fun. This had to be on the list. Read your favourite fiction genre or read a classic that you’ve loved since you were a kid. Not only is it relaxing, but the stories you love inspired you for a reason. Relish the phrases the writer uses and soak up the descriptive scenes. Feel like you are in the story. This always makes me want to write after I’m done reading a favourite book.
I hope this list helps you fill your creative well once more.
I was inspired as I wrote this to unplug and rethink how I’m going to keep filling my own creative well each day. I’m going to start by doing more of my favourite things: reading and writing.
What do you do to fill your creative well? Comment below, I’d love to hear your ideas.