A creative business requires a lot of your creative resources. When was the last time you filled that well?
I first came upon the concept of filling the creative well when I read Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way many years ago. I’ve tried to make time for my “artist’s date” and had success sometimes more than others. But I can tell you it makes a huge difference in my creativity, productivity and mood.
What’s it all about? This from her website:
“Art is an image-using system. In order to create, we draw from our inner well. This inner well, an artistic reservoir, is ideally like a well-stocked trout pond. We’ve got big fish, little fish, fat fish, skinny fish– an abundance of artistic fish to fry. As artists, we must realize that we have to maintain this artistic ecosystem. If we don’t give some attention to upkeep, our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant, or blocked. Any extended period of piece of work draws heavily on our artistic well. As artists we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them– to restock the trout pond, so to speak. I call this process filling the well.”
So how does a crazy busy creative business owner go about filling the creative well?
It’s important to have a date with yourself (the artist) by yourself every week. The length of the date is entirely up to you, all that matters is that you do it. Generally, artist’s dates are done alone. Once in a while I will share an artist’s date with a friend, but usually I go out alone.
Ways I Fill Up My Own Creative Well:
- Visit a few of my favorite thrift shops. Even if I don’t buy anything, I like looking at all of the random shapes, colors and materials – it helps me work out ideas for what I could do with them. Even if I never even take the items home. It’s a fun creative exercise and I usually end up bringing a few items home to “play” with.
- Take a walk around a museum. It’s a different experience to walk a museum alone. You can visit several rooms or spend the majority of your date standing in front of just one piece of work. When you are alone, there is no one to rush you or try to move you along. No one to suggest ideas, intent or worthiness of the piece you are absorbed by. Just you – studying and immersing yourself in the artwork.
- Visit a local place you’ve never been. Whether it’s a cemetery (yes, I said cemetery- have you seen the artwork on those tombstones?), a hiking trail or a local park. Visiting a new spot opens your eyes, ears and mind.
- Send a package to someone. Do you know someone who could use a boost or would like a small gift of creative items? Package up some supplies, ephemera, tools or other bits and send to someone. Be thoughtful about what you include.
- Visit your favorite craft store but stay away from the aisle you usually shop in.
- Go to Lowe’s or Home Depot with only $10 to spend on supplies. See what you can come up with.
- Plant something.
The important thing is to fill the creative well on a regular basis. After all, you are draining it on a regular basis, too.
What activities would you like to do on an artist’s date?
By: Vicki O’Dell, The Creative Goddess