Sunday, January 14, 2018

Filling the well

I have enjoyed reading my fellow bloggers' writing goals and resolutions for the past few weeks, but I admit I'm not quite there yet. It always takes me a few weeks in January to get back to business. After all the hub bub that takes place in November and December, I reach the new year feeling weary. A little worn-out. Somewhat depleted. So my goal -- if you can call it that -- is to fill my creative well.

This is a concept drawn from screenwriter and director Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way, which is designed to help enhance creativity. Cameron points out that we need an inner reservoir to draw from if we are going to continue to create -- a creative "ecosystem" of sorts, that needs care and upkeep. If we don't give our reservoir the attention it requires, it can dry up, become blocked, or even stagnant.
Her suggestion is to set aside time each week to do something that nourishes the creative self. A trip to a museum, a walk in the country, or watching an old movie are just a few examples. These should be done alone so we can absorb the experience without conversation or distraction. Cameron calls these activities an "artist's date," as we are taking ourselves out.

I love that idea! Who better to take myself out than me!

I've found that when there's too much going on, it's hard to tune everything out and focus on my work-in-progress. So I plan to set aside time in the next few weeks to nourish my creative self. Instead of tasks that "must" be done, I vow to find time -- even if it's thirty minutes a day -- to do something fun, delightful, mysterious, or intriguing.

Another concept I've come across recently is something called "moodling." The term means dawdling, idling away time, letting the mind wander. Despite our busy, frenetic lives, we all do this in little bits of moments -- while sitting at a stoplight, washing dishes, waiting at the doctor's office (that is, if we're not checking our phones). But a good exercise is to do this consciously, with a pencil and paper, for an hour. Let the thoughts come as they may. Some of the most innovative and interesting ideas can rise up out of the pockets of your mind.

Wishing you all a refilled well and time to "moodle" this year!

Michele Weber Hurwitz is the author of Ethan Marcus Stands Up (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin 2017), The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days (Penguin Random House 2014) and Calli Be Gold (Penguin Random House 2011). Find her at micheleweberhurwitz.com

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