Friday, February 3, 2017

Is filling the well to be creative fact or fiction?

There is this whole thing about 'filling the creative' well. I first happened upon it reading Julia Cameron's The Artist Way, a fabulous book that was aimed at creative folk who were blocked from their art, or didn't feel they could be artistic (whether as a career or just for the fun of it.) It's an amazing workbook, recommended for anyone who wants to paint, write, be musical (or whatever it is you want to do), but feels they can't or shouldn't.
One of the things she talked about was doing things to 'fill the well' like take time out to go to a museum or a beach or a walk, or a movie, or a shop that makes you happy, that kind of thing.
What I learnt from that is that we are all different and what works for some doesn't work for others Now, I was not blocked or having problems over whether I should write (although she did address some things I was feeling like the guilt factor - whole other blog post there) but pretty much that book was pivotal in me sticking to writing, whether it became a career or not. I had worked as a freelance journalist for a while and written for some top New Zealand magazines over years, selling the odd article here and there. But writing fiction (or painting, or learning to play an instrument, or taking up pottery or anything else) was different.
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Then a few years back I heard a talk by Stephanie Bond, a top romance writer, who said this simple statement: writing begets writing.
Writing begets writing.
And ever since then, I've realized she is absolutely right. Writing does beget writing. The more you write, the more you want to write You don't want to leave the story and go to your paying job, or have to go to that appointment. You want to stay at the keyboard
But,.. when you do stop writing, whether it be days or weeks or even months,  writing, in my experience, becomes the last thing you want to do And for me, personally, heading off to see a movie, or doing something like that, doesn't fill the will ... unless. it's with writer friends, like in the good old days of Borders where we'd meet up for coffee and hit the shelves and talk about our plans and dreams and our current books. They were such good times. That fills (if one wants to use the expression)  the creative well - for me - more than doing something else supposedly to get in tune with creation.
But we are all different - boy, are we different, thank goodness - so what works for one may not work for another. but I do think for most of us, that Stephanie Bond's words hold true whatever we do.
The more we do it, the more we want to do it. And if we need a break, its probably more to just have a break - that's what holidays are for - or to be really Biblical, that's what the idea of a one day a week break is (on the Sabbath). Even putting aside the religious aspect of it, its pretty simple, and ordained from thousands of years ago. Take a day when you don't work. Ease up. In today's context, take some time out, get away from the stuff that is wearing you down (most likely politics, the media, social media et al) and just have a day of doing whatever you want.
Joanne

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