Thursday, October 6, 2011

Refilling the Well

There comes a time--or several times--in a writer's life where she (or he) feels empty and unable to produce anything with substance.  Some aren't able to produce anything at all.  These are the times when it's almost physically painful to try to string coherent words together to make a story.

Some people call this inability to create a writer's block, when in fact it isn't something that only writers experience.  Anyone who is creative can and usually does experience this phenomenon once in a while.

What?  You're not a writer?  Not an artist?  Wrong.  Everyone is creative in some way.

Filling -- or more accurately 'refilling' -- the well is what we do when we find that we're unable to create or have lost the love of creating.  The reasons for not being able to create are many and can include:

  • Being on a long run of deadlines with no or very short breaks
  • Experiencing a string of rejections or even the first rejection
  • Life changes, which can include a new baby, a marriage or divorce, a move, or anything that disrupts a normal pattern
  • Being overwhelmed by day to day life
  • Fear of failure
  • Fear of success
But like the reasons for being unable to create, refilling the well of creativity can take many forms.  Some writers choose to refill their well by reading, often outside of their own genre.  Some turn to other types of "art," such as drawing, photography, music, sewing and handcrafts, woodworking, even redecorating. Whatever we do, each of us much choose our own way of refilling.  Need an idea?  Check out how one author at Jaunty Quills does it.

When there isn't a lot of time to turn to something different, there's an alternative.  In the book The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, the author suggests scheduling an "Artist's Date" at selected intervals.  Whether it's sipping a cup of yummy coffee at Starbucks, checking out a local flea market, or taking a walk around the block, just getting away from the grind for a new and different experience can give an artist/writer the chance to regain a new perspective aka refilling the well.  There's more on the "Artist's Date" at  Live to Write - Write to Live blog.  Picking up a copy of The Artist's Way is a great idea, too.  It's also available as an ebook, I hear.

Take the time to refill your creative well whenever possible.  It doesn't have to take a lot of time, and the benefits can't be matched.

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