Time to Fill the Creative Well Again

Posted by Katie L. Carroll on January 18, 2016 in Art, Black Butterfly, Creativity, Nature, WIP, Writing |

I finished the big revision I had been working on and then made it through the holidays. Now I find myself on this side of the New Year with a need for a creative recharge. This isn’t the first time I’ve been here, and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

The creative life can be draining when you’re constantly putting words, thoughts, and ideas out there, so I tend to go through periods where I’m in need of replenishment. I’ve written about the idea of a creative well (see the full post here) here on the Observation Desk before. Here’s a snippet:

The well is where ideas come from.

Some ideas are a tiny trickle dripping from the bucket. Others a deluge as the bottom of the bucket falls out, gushing water over my head.

I’m not the only one with access to the well. An intricate labyrinth of tunnels connects other writers, artist, dreamers, and musicians to the well. But it’s not only for artsy types. Mathematicians calculate numbers and equations there; astrophysicists explore the stars and galaxies; doctors find cures for disease.

The well connects us all.

I mistakenly think I write to make connections, take the thoughts and stories in my head and share them with readers, giving them thoughts and stories of their own. I actually write to explore the connections that already exist through the well.”

I feel like I’ve been putting a lot into the well lately. So it’s time for me sit quietly and soak up all the well has to offer. I’ve been reading a lot (something I didn’t do as much last year), watching TV (sure some programs are more mindless than others, but it does help to fill me up creatively), and paying attention to life and nature.

And thinking…lots and lots of thinking. Part of my writing process is to think about a new project for awhile before I dig into writing it. More than thinking about what I’m working on next, though, I’ve also been pondering my career as an author and where I’m headed next. Part of that depends on other people as I’m currently querying agents with a manuscript, but much of it is internal.

Speaking of querying, this part of being a writer is one of the hardest for me. It’s makes me feel intensely vulnerable, and I really, really, really hate feeling vulnerable. I’m in need of lots of tea and chocolate, and maybe some hugs!

Hopefully soon, I’ll have a better sense of this next book I plan on writing and I’ll be able to immerse myself in it, which helps to desensitize me to the querying process. A new project brings excitement, direction, and hope.

What have you all been up to lately?


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  • Jeff Chapman says:

    I’ve been working on a novel for months, and then I took a break for a few weeks to write a story for an anthology. That’s done and for a day I felt elated. I finished something. Now I feel drained. Having a hard time getting back into the novel.

    • The post-finishing-a-project elation never lasts long for me. I have a hard time not thinking about what’s next, whether that be submitting it or what I’m going to work on next. I find these little creative breaks are so important to keep me sane. I’m sure you’ll get back into it…in fact, I actually cheated a little and dabbled in my new WIP for a bit the other day. I just couldn’t help myself.

  • Mirka Breen says:

    We don’t often talk about the valley after the high of each round– (first draft, first read-through, first revision, etc.)
    It’s a real “air out of tires” feeling. I’m lucky not to have this last long. One way to cope is to enlist yet another generous beta reader for feedback, and get back on the horse.

    • I’ve had it vary how long the hiatus has lasted. I’m already itching to get into my new WIP, so I don’t think this one will last very long. It’s just nice to give myself a break and not feel obligated to write.

  • Vijaya says:

    I hear you Katie. There is a season for everything … and before we can draw from the well, it has to be filled. I find that other creative endeavors cross-pollinate my writing. Right now I have NO deadlines (well, two little ones) so really enjoying writing for myself and exploring ideas.

  • I’m a big fan of the creative well (which I have been refilling this last week!) Gotta keep the creative brain nourished and happy!

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