Filling your creative well.

By Katie Brown, NSAI Member Representative

‘Tis the season to feel burned out. It’s been a long crazy year, and I know I feel burned out. Many of the writers I meet with are feeling burned out, and our industry friends are feeling burned out, too. Lately, in response to this feeling of exhaustion, I’ve been using the phrase “remember to fill your well” a TON. I overheard a writer say it once, but I’m embarrassed to say I had no clue where it came from; I just knew it was something that seemed to resonate with me enough that I felt it important to share with my fellow creatives. It turns out the concept of “filling your well” comes from Julia Cameron’s book, “The Artist’s Way,” which discusses ways to enhance our creativity.

Julia refers to our “well” as a creative ecosystem that we need to care for; she points out that, “if we don’t give some attention to upkeep, our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant, or blocked.” You might have experienced this in the form of writer’s block, or lack of passion or excitement in your art – neither of which feels particularly pleasant and can be terribly frustrating. 

Maybe you’re feeling depleted because work and family obligations have consumed your time and attention lately, leaving you hardly any time to nourish your creative self. Cameron suggests setting an hour or two each week to recharge by either going on a nature walk, visiting a museum, watching an old movie that you love - whatever the activity (mine is reading a book with a glass of wine in the tub), it’s important to do these activities alone so that you’re able to totally absorb yourself in the experience without concern for others. She calls these solo activities “artist’s dates” because we’re taking our artist selves out on dates. I find this concept super adorable and very necessary. 
Maybe you’re feeling depleted because you’re writing SO much and going to SO many shows and trying to meet SO many people that the sheer number of creative activities is the biggest culprit in depleting your “well”. In this case, I think balance is key. I’m not saying to bail on that writing session, and I’m not saying to not go out to that showcase. I’m definitely not saying to be that person that doesn’t show up (being “the one that shows up” in this industry really does go a long way), but do allow yourself to say “no” once in a while so you can take yourself on a Julia Cameron “artist’s date.” Do something for you that reenergizes your creative spirit and reminds you why you’re doing what you’re doing. 
So, as we move into this wonderful holiday season full of hustle and bustle, my hope for all of us is a little more balance, a little more grace, and a lot more creative inspiration. Let us all remember that we are incredibly blessed to have our beautiful creative selves. Love you all - Katie

This blog post was contributed by Katie Brown, NSAI Membership Representative