Friday, March 10, 2017

Tips to Refresh Your Creative Spirit When the Well Runs Dry

by Edie Melson 

We all have times when life spirals out of control. Maybe it’s too many writing deadlines, a family crisis or holiday madness. Whatever it is, it can drain us dry. I’ve learned that these dry times come when I don’t the luxury of taking a couple of weeks of to rest and recover. I’ve had to figure out how to keep going and recover while I'm doing it.

Here’s what I do to feed my creative spirit.

First, I do a little inventory and look at what’s on my schedule. I take a look at what I have to do no matter what, and at the things I just feel like I should do. There’s a difference, trust me. Now’s the time to let go of everything that isn’t absolutely necessary.

Then I acknowledge that I’m dealing with mental fatigue. My mind is like a muscle that’s been overworked. It needs time to recuperate. To give it the time it needs, I watch the clock while I’m working and taking frequent breaks during the day. I’ll use those breaks to wander around the yard with my camera, take lunch with a friend, or just sit and enjoy a TV show.

Next I take a look at my disrupted routine. Many of you know I keep a pretty regular schedule. I have to, I’m too easily distracted as it is. A schedule helps me focus and stay productive. But when life spirals out of control, my schedule can degenerate into doing nothing more than sitting in front of the computer for twelve to fourteen hours a day, seven days a week. No one can sustain that kind of workload for any length of time.

When that happens, I become very rigid with my schedule (including the break times). This helps me stay on track, even as I give myself time to recuperate. My writing time is be shorter and my breaks a little longer.

The fourth thing I address is the need to feed my creative spirit. I must rekindle that creativity that’s burned so low in my soul.
  • I spend more time reading—for pleasure. I may try a new author, or revisit an old favorite. I go where my whims lead me. NOTHING from my to-do reading list allowed!
  • I do some things that spark my creativity, like jewelry making or knitting. Something fun, but not something I do for money. Just opportunities that encourage my imagination to soar.
  • I go to the movies. This gives me the opportunity to immerse myself in worlds that other creative geniuses have imagined and most important, much-needed time with my husband and with friends.
  • Finally, I find a time for a short vacation. It may only be a one-day trip into the mountains or a local park, but my husband and I need the unplugged time with just each other as our focus. 

Now I’d love to hear from you. How do you refill and refresh your creative spirit? Share your suggestions in the comments section so we can all learn from each other.

Tips to Refresh Your #Creative Spirit When the Well Runs Dry - @EdieMelson (Click to Tweet)


  1. Love these ideas, Edie. Lately, I've been turning on praise music (the Bethel Music channel on Pandora) when I need a creative refresher. I step away from my desk, immerse myself in the words, and simply worship. Fifteen minutes later, I return refreshed in mind, body, and spirit.

    1. Cathy, That's a great addition to the list! Thank you! Blessings, E

  2. I turn off all news at home and in the car. I spend a little more time with a camera outdoors and a glass of wine indoors. The only music I listen to are instrumentals - no lyrics. Flowers inside by day and candles by night. For sheer enjoyment, I'll take an acoustic guitar and put it into an altered tuning then just noodle around on the neck, finding new voicings, new patterns that fit together. I have to be careful NOT to get distracted with capturing a song and starting to make notes on that instead of writing. I merely grab my smart phone and record it to listen to later. I never go back and listen - it only removes the temptation. Works for me.

  3. Oops! Not sure why it came out "Unknown" Jay Wright

  4. Thank you, Edie. I'm presently walking through the season of caregiver and this was much needed. God bless :) I've been listening to inspirational music, spending time on my horse *weather permitting* and vegging with books and PBS programs on television to unwind.

  5. Thanks, Edie. I feel more relaxed just reading your suggestions!

  6. And coffee, there's always coffee. Thanks for listing the other ways. Sometimes even coffee needs help.