Filling the creative well


I took time out from social media and blogging in the last few weeks. Normally when life, or illness, gets in the way, I panic. Anxiety surges and swirls around my tummy. I see jobs that need doing everywhere I look. The overwhelming amount of tasks paralyses me physically but makes my mind anything but quiet. I work from home. And I work hard. I'm undertaking online courses in order to learn new skills, finishing off a novel, writing this blog, growing my social media presence, writing other articles, testing recipes, working on behind the scenes well as tending to a large plot of land with chickens and ducks. Spring is a glorious season but it is also the busiest season for working outside.

hawthornIn the four years we've lived here - four years today in fact - during the spring of two of those years I've felt anxiety when I see the nettles growing, when the hedges need cutting (not during nesting season though!) and when the grass needs strimming. I look elsewhere and see the chickens need treating to stop the red mite, their coops need a thorough wash and the weeds are starting to appear in the cracks of the patio. All of this has sent my anxiety through the roof.

And I've not even started on the writing work.

Julia Cameron writes about filling the well in her book, The Artist's Way, and in this blog post. She says:

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...

This is so true. Have you ever sat at your desk and been unable to write? Been completely uninspired? Run out of ideas?

Well, it could be because you've been working so hard you've forgotten to take time out. To go outside, take in deep breaths; to look up and see the clouds, or look down and get your hands dirty.

Whatever it is. Just to do something different. It could also be having a day off to go sight-seeing, going clubbing or bathing a chicken (yes, I did do that this morning).

Being a writer, or any type of creative, is a labour of love. We enjoy doing it. And many of us do it from home. But this also means we never take time away from it. And, when we do, we feel guilty.

I stopped feeling guilty some time ago. As Julia says, we must be self-nourishing. And I am learning to do that. Though I admit to sometimes forgetting.

We must take time out. Taking time out makes us return to our work renewed and refreshed, ready to climb literary mountains.

Now this is how I've spent my last week.

Late Spring 2016 from Helen || a bookish baker on Vimeo.

Music: "Summer Days" by Kai Engel