Friday, June 22, 2012

Filling the creative well

When I am doing a lot of creative work, as I am lately, it's easy to get depleted, to run out of ideas or solutions. Julia Cameron recognized this early in her work and Artist's Dates are an essential part of all her programs. On an artist date, you take yourself off exploring something new or perhaps forgotten that can stimulate your creativity, fill the well as it were.

When I did the Artist's Way program years ago, I visited a fabric store (I don't sew but I bought some fabulous ribbons), a bead store (I don't make jewelry though I tried my hand at it), a foreign film I would probably never have seen otherwise, the zoo, a gallery in our Pearl District that I hadn't been to before, the Japanese Garden, an Ethiopian restaurant, a rhododendron garden, a sex accessories store, the art museum, the town's science museum, and a chamber music concert.

Recently, I've decided to do this again. I'd spent six months heavily immersed in my freelance editing business and working on my novel. I wasn't stuck or bored, but I was weary in a way that was different. I recognized that not only did I need to come up for air, but I needed to fill the well with fresh sights, sounds, smells, touches, shapes, and colors.

So in the last month I've been to the theater a couple of times, went to a great musical review of the blues, got a friend to join me in a long-overdue visit to the art museum, sat down with a couple of great art books that have been on my shelf for years without me cracking them open, got some strange films from Netflix, visited a big plant store. And ideas are really flowing again.

So if you're feeling less inclined to make something new or push the envelope on your writing or your other creative pursuits, try a few Artist's Dates and see what happens.