Jessie: Gleefully gazing at crocuses sprinkling the lawn!
The snow is mostly melted and sooner rather than later, wells will be filled to the brim with the year’s supply of water, water that will be used to make things grow. Which got me thinking about the well of creativity and how that needs replenishing too.Creativity relies heavily on connecting and combining seemingly unrelated elements in new and unexpected ways. In order to make those combinations you have to have a lot of material floating around in the subconscious. Over the last few years I’ve come to realize how valuable it is to recognize when I am starting to run dry and how best to address the problem before it develops into a drought. Here are a few of my tried and true strategies:
1. Take a long walk with a good friend. My favorite walking friend is one of my beloved sisters. We tool along country roads solving the world’s problems and many of our own as well. All that brainstorming and oxygen flow fires my creativity.
2. Try a new food. I’m a decent cook and I like experimenting with all sorts of recipes from around the world. New flavors are one way I like to awaken my senses and to enjoy some of life’s little surprises.
3. Map a new route to a routine destination. Ever wonder where a road goes? Ever turned left when you usually go right? Discovered a shortcut that you never realized existed? Shaking things up in the physical world can do the same for your mental map.
4. Make batch decisions. When I am writing a first draft and things are grinding along slowly I try to reduce as many decisions from my life as possible. The creative energy required to make decisions can leave too little left over for large-scale projects. In order to ration the supply I plan what I will wear, a menu for a week at a time and my schedule to the greatest extent possible. By eliminating the need to think about what to have for lunch or when to exercise I can turn more of my mind over to red herrings and plot holes.
5. Spend time pursuing another creative discipline. I love to knit. I always have at least two projects on the needles at any given time. I find the time I spend knitting does something to my brain that nothing else seems to do.I even keep a pair of needles and a ball of yarn on my desk most of the time to help me sort things out. Whenever I get to a sticking point in a draft I pick up the needles and fall into a sort of meditation mode. Ideas usually begin to flow once more. It works with other pursuits too like gardening or painting; anything so long as it doesn’t rely on the same set of skills as the main creative endeavor.
So readers, how do you refill your creative wells?