A dry creative well is a real problem to us creative types. As much as we want to be able to create forever, we are not bionic. Yet. So how can we refill that creative well when it runs dry and takes our energy and inspiration with it? Here are 5 ideas:
1. Creative Cross-Train by switching mediums: When we switch mediums we give our minds a small mental break from our current project but are still engaging in another form of creative activity. This means our brain is still participating in a creative act, though it is being used in a different way. Sometimes, simply engaging our brains in a slightly different manner is all we need to jump start that well again. If you want to learn a little more, I wrote an entire blog post devoted to creative cross-training.
2. Dump your rhythm. Having a creative rhythm is one of the best ways to make sure you are producing. But when we create in the same place, every day, at the same time, while it gets our brain in the habit of creating, it can also become boring. Don’t be afraid to dump the rhythm you’ve built. Moving to a new coffee shop (and people watch!), trying to create at a different time of day, may provide that spark you needed.
3. Check your energy tank. Many times I’ve believed I had no creative drive. The truth was my creative energy was being stolen by Twitter, answering email, doing dirty dishes. We only have so much energy in a day (and so much negative news we can withstand). When we let this energy be sapped, we can’t put it into our creative work, and then we wonder where our creativity went when we can’t get anything done. The problem isn’t a lack of creativity or inspiration, but a lack of pumping the well with energy to get out that creativity and inspiration. Double check how much time you’re spending on social media or even doing energy sucking projects such as cleaning and laundry. You may have an energy leak somewhere without even realizing it.
4. Live a little. The best art is a reflection of life. But showing a reflection of life is almost impossible when you forget to actually Go to the beach with friends, go on that date, buy those concert tickets. When we live, we fill our basin with events we can draw on so we can actually create.
5. STOP. As artists, we have the best job in the world. We love to create, we love what we do. How many get to plot worlds or pin down the color of a mountain at sunrise or take down a dystopian government for a job? However, when you create regularly, especially when creating is your profession, no matter how much you love it, it is still work. Work always has the potential for burnout. If you’ve done all the above suggestions and still have an empty well, it’s a good indication you need a break. Not an afternoon off to binge watch Dr Who, but an honest-to-God vacation. Think–sabbatical. If your stomach just threw up a little reading that sentence, take it as a clue that you’re in need.
Sometimes, our brain needs a break. Our brain needs to recharge. Our brain needs a time of rest. Even CEO’s of billion dollar companies need time off in order to maintain healthiness. I promise you, Earth will not implode because you disappear for a while. What you don’t want is to ignore your dry well until it cracks and becomes unusable for years. Which is a real danger for us creative folk.
Have you ever dried out your creative well? What did you do?