Coach’s Corner: Refilling the Creative Well

Photo credit: Jill Wellington

Water is my element. Ironically, I’m a terrible swimmer. But I love water. I need water. In particular, the ocean. Sitting on the shore ocean, listening to the crashing waves, breathing in the sea-salt air, feeds my soul like nothing else can. My well for life, and especially creativity, is refilled. Unfortunately for me, I live in the centre of the North American continent, so getting to the ocean isn’t quite as easy as I’d like. So large lakes and rivers have to tide me over until I can get there.

The last five months have been incredibly draining for me, my well has all but run dry. Winter has arrived, and so not even the nearby rivers can help me. I’ve had to search for other resources to keep my creative well flowing.

  1. Writing. I know, it seems counterintuitive, but allowing myself the freedom to dream up something completely new and different from anything I have ever done before creates an energy about the project that makes me want to work on it. The same thing with editing a novel for a submission deadline. Both have given me a reason to continue writing.
  2. Pets. I now have a puppy, and she has truly become my emotional support/therapy dog (unofficially). I would not have survived without her. Snuggling pets is the best. I’m allergic to animals, so my fur-baby is a poodle-bichon, so I can have her. I understand having a pet isn’t possible for many, or maybe you have recently lost your fur-baby and getting another one isn’t in the cards. That’s why I also suggest:
  3. Nieces and nephews. Mine are young adults now. They aren’t going to snuggle up on my lap for a story. They are a lot of fun, and we go places and do things together, like go to our local comic-con, or anime convention, or watch Netflix. Spending time with them gets me out of my own little world. It is also a great reminder of how much I don’t miss being that age.
  4. Going to readings. I’m a believer in supporting local authors, particularly those who write in the speculative genres so getting out to their readings and book launches to support them does that. It helps me, though, because I am there with a community of writers, reconnecting. I get inspired by the story I am hearing from the author doing the reading, and that often gets my creative well flowing with ideas and thoughts about the projects I’m working on.
  5. Artist Dates: Julia Cameron in her book The Artist’s Way, talks about weekly Artist Dates. She suggest we take an hour or two each week to get out, do something fun, on our own. I personally find this difficult to do on a weekly basis, but I agree that getting out and allowing myself some time off every now and then helps. Like going to see Thor: Ragnarok. Or Star Wars: The Last Jedi this December.
  6. Reading. Sometimes, it can be the smallest thing, like when your absolute favorite author has a new book out, and you go buy it and then sit down in a coffee shop to read the first few chapters because you can’t wait until you get home.
  7. Exercise. I feel obligated to put this in here, because I know by now that probably everyone reading this list is yelling, “Go for a walk!” I haven’t had the time nor the energy to get out for a proper walk. I take my puppy out, but she doesn’t walk very far, and she still has a fascination with chewing my treadmill and my books. So my treadmill is fenced off and has become a holding place for the books that had been on the bottom shelf of my book cases. Excuses? Sure. But they’re mine, and I’m sticking to them for now.
  8. Planning that trip to the ocean. I’m finally getting back there. Going to Mexico this February, and I can’t wait to spend the entire week sitting on a lounger in the shade, reading and listening to that beautiful, life-giving body of water. And of course, jumping in those waves will be spectacular too.

These things are helping me keep my well flowing until I get back to the ocean. What do you do to refill your well?

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