writing to stoke the creative fire within
“Why should we all use our creative power…? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money.”
I have just recently recovered from an acute bout of what I call Dry Well Syndrome. It is pretty awful for us writers and artists who make our living through the use of our creative power. While it never surprises me, it always unnerves me because I rely on this thing called creativity, not just for work, but for life. As Julia Cameron of the classic book, The Artist’s Way, points out, “as we are creative beings, our lives become our work of art.
Works of art are often thought to be material things, finite projects. But the truth is, the greatest work of art each and every one of us has the potential to create is our life. The problem is, most of us don’t realize our immense creative power. We are too busy reacting to our lives now to give ourselves the space and time to create visions of what we want. We enter an auto-pilot way of living, busy tying loose ends and checking off to-do lists, and neglect planting new seeds for our future. Eventually, we blink, hit middle age, and realize our lives feel uninspired and stale. Then all emotional hell breaks loose, we have a mid-life crisis, and buy an expensive sports car that doesn’t have the horsepower to lift us out of our stagnation.
But the truth of life is, it’s not over until it’s over. We are meant to continually evolve. We are meant to create anew. While uncomfortable at times, we are wired for change. It’s inevitable. So it really becomes a choice of either entering the flow of life and stepping fully into the adventure, facing fear and embracing courage, or enduring a slow, spiritual suffocation.
We owe it to ourselves to empower our thoughts and infuse our lives with creativity and vision.
In the midst of my last bout of Dry Well Syndrome, knowing the futility of pulling water from an empty well, I surrendered. I sat down, blank page in front of me, and surrounded myself with inspiring words, images, color, music, thoughts and ideas, letting my mind and pen wander, until I tapped into my next wellspring. What I decided during this period of creative exploration is to pull myself out of bed before sunrise, before anyone in my house is awake, and as the steam rises into the dark morning air from my coffee cup, to feed my creative life. I used to do this when my kids were babies, and during that period, I wrote my first novel in the mornings between 6:00 am. to 8:00 am. When they entered school, however, I stopped, thinking that I didn’t need those early hours since I had the whole day.
I have since realized that I need a morning writing practice–it inspires and energizes me, allowing me space and time to stoke my creative fire before I’m blown around by the day’s work and activities.
Are you feeling stuck? Uninspired? Creatively malnourished? Writing is a powerful, inspiring, and mysterious practice for creativity in living. Below is a writing exercise that will help awaken your spirit and breathe life and vitality into your day:
Turn to the next blank page in your journal. Notice the wide-open space and possibility on the page in front of you and in your life. Write the date and where you are at the top and begin with the words, “I am inspired by…” Give yourself the gift of ten minutes to dwell in this landscape. Be aware of the energy that arises when you give voice, and thus power, to the things in your life that bring inspiration and love. If this is difficult–if you are stumped by what inspires you, then this is the perfect exercise for you. By digging and listening deeply to your spirit, you will eventually unearth the simple treasures that make your heart beat stronger. Once unearthed, go there. Go to that place in your heart and honor the creative and life-giving voice of your soul. There begins the work of creating anew. There begins the work of creating your life.