Sometimes I don’t feel like writing. It has nothing to do with time or my day job or family and household responsibilities (though those things do stand in my way more often than I should allow). It has everything to do with my creative well running dry.
When my creative well starts pulling up more sand than water, no amount of dedicated butt-in-chair writing time will fix it. The creative fuel I burn when writing is generated almost solely by other creative pursuits.
Prior to the writing retreat I went on last fall, I spent several weeks working on a scrapbook. There were two main reasons for this.
The first reason was that I wanted to surprise the rest of the Ferrets with an album detailing the events of our last four vacations. We like to take a lot of photos, but until now they have only lived as files on our computers. A scrapbook would be the perfect way to enjoy those memories properly.
The second reason was that I really needed to work on something creative that was not writing. I still had ideas and the desire to see them on paper, but the words and patience to work with them had been gone for months. My creative well hadn’t seen water all summer.
Creating this scrapbook was the perfect project for me. It fed my nostalgia, required only minimal writing, refocused my efforts to graphic design instead of adjectives and metaphors, and gave me a reasonable but firm deadline. By the last week or two prior to the retreat, I was chomping at the bit to have my notebook and pen back again.
But the projects to refuel your creativity don’t have to be so large.
The other surprise I brought with me on the retreat was a stack of coloring books and brand new packages of crayons and colored pencils. The dining room table of our cabin became the “art station” and each of us took frequent breaks to color instead of writing, drawing, blogging, and coding. It settled our minds and made us feel like kids again.
When you’ve hit a rut with your art, find a project in a differing medium to which you can turn your attention. It keeps creativity flowing while giving you a rest where you need it most.
Your mind is like a farmer’s field; if you only plow and plant the same plot, eventually the crop will suffer.
How do you refuel your own creativity?