Photo by Luke Brugger / unsplash.com
Julia Cameron, author of her popular book The Right to Write says that she often has writers and other creative artists come to her wondering why their work dries up just when it was all going so well. She says:
"Very often work dries up precisely because it was going so well. We have simply over-fished our inner reservoir without having taken the time and care to consciously restock our storehouse."
My dad used to enjoy going fishing. He'd load up the truck with his fishing gear and spend a day by a quiet lake reeling in his quota. And my family would enjoy the fruit of his labour -- a fine feast of fried trout or perch or pickerel. But then, as the years passed, he'd often come home empty-handed, and disappointed, even though he'd been fishing all day. The lakes were being over-fished and so the fish had become scarce.
Sometimes that's exactly what has happened to our inner lives; they are like over-fished lakes. If we keep dipping into our inner ponds -- giving and giving and giving out -- but never taking time to restock, our imagination and source of inspiration eventually dries up too.
One way is to go on what Miss Cameron calls an Artist Date, a once-weekly solitary expedition away from the usual routine and do something festive that interest us. To find a place that lets us experience lots of sensory images. For instance, in the middle of winter, one of my favourite places to visit is a greenhouse or conservatory to take in the fragrance, colours and seasonal displays. I always come away rejuvenated.
Updated link added March 2015: Here is a link to a blog post Julia has recently written that further explains The Magic of Artist Dates.
The next time you feel your creativity drying up, why not schedule an Artist's Date and restock your inner reservoir.