What to Do When the Creative Well Has Run Dry
Writing sounds like an easy endeavor. It’s been simplified to the notion that all you need to do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed. The difficulty comes not in the typing. It comes in the bleeding.
I’ve been bleeding off and on most of my life with it being a regular occurrence for the last two years. That’s a lot of blood. What I’ve found is that my ability to regenerate dwindles over time.
My writing came to a screeching halt during the first week of quarantine. It makes no sense. I had more time. A global pandemic, a housebound teenager, and a fledgling relationship gave me plenty of material.
I felt good in the first few weeks of lockdown. Mentally healthy, energized, rested. Still, I decided to watch Netflix instead. I built a dining room table with my own hands. Then I fired my only freelance client.
I voluntarily and temporarily walked away from writing.
It was a clear and conscious choice. I needed a break. I was tired. I have always written because I love it and it brings me personal satisfaction and fulfillment. After two years of making an income from it, it felt like a job. I’d go to work, come home, and go to work again.
After three months, I started to feel an ache again. It was compelling. What I found was that the desire came back full force.
It was like I was starting over again from day one with the same amount of energy. The difference was that this time I knew what I was doing.
I’ve written every day for the last week because my mind keeps going to the words. I started seeing life as experiences again. I found renewed beauty where I thought I had lost it.
I needed to shut down my writing mind in order to regenerate the blood inside me that I could let out again. When I sat back down at the typewriter, it came easier. I write in half the time it took me before and feel more confident when I publish or submit an article somewhere for consideration.
Too often, when we get a taste of success, it becomes hustle and the hustle bitters that taste. Allowing ourselves to burn out and throw in the towel for a while keeps the sweetness.
Yes, there’s a chance you may never go back. It’s a risk. It’s also a test of where your heart is.
If your heart is truly with writing, it will never leave you. It will call back to you when you least expect it. It won’t be denied.
Letting the well run dry may sometimes be what’s best for you. The world will not stop spinning. You won’t be forgotten because the talent doesn’t go away. It’s merely a level set for your creative mind.
Wells dry up but don’t always stay that way. Landscape changes and water finds its way back to the well. Have faith in that and trust the process. If you’re burning out, let it be. Leave the well alone and focus elsewhere. When you see the water at the bottom after a while, it’s worth celebrating.