Fill Your Creative Well
“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi,
In this day and age of digital overload, it’s easy to forget to do “real” life. it’s also easy to conflate the digital receipts of others with our hard-earned paper receipts. When a walk down the street is spent looking down at our phones and avoiding the world around us — we are missing the point.
(If you take a walk with me, you’ll hear me talk about the environment. Look at that flower! That bird! That building! I have trained myself to be present to my environment when I walk. I want to fill my creative well to make me a better creative, friend, partner and person. In fact, I did a Ted talk about this. You can watch it: here.)
Off The Screen
Great creatives do not create in a vacuum. Great ideas are not borne from staring at your laptop or mobile phone screen for fifteen hours. Working “long and hard” is not synonymous with great work. As the adage goes, “Work smarter not harder.”
Off The Grid
On the same token however, great work is equally not borne from an excess of stimuli. Distractions like parties, award shows, events, “people to see and places to be” may do wonders for your hype hustle but won’t necessarily fill your creative well. And believe it or not, no matter what business you’re in — you’re a creative. Whether you’re creating music or trying to close sales deals, great work requires creativity and to maximize our creativity we need to have our internal well filled.
Self-esteem does not come from being on the right list or at the right place. Self-esteem comes from self-knowledge that you are a valuable bad ass who creates great work. (This paragraph could be summed up by: don’t judge your insides by other’s outsides.)
Into the Well
So, how do we fill our creative well?
My favorite answer is: read The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I cite it often, but it’s been an invaluable resource.
If you’re not much for reading, here are some other suggestions…
Answer this: What places fill your soul?
Is it a museum? The beach? Seeing a foreign film by yourself? Taking a pottery class? A dance class? Rock climbing? A road trip? Restorative yoga at a beautiful studio?
Whatever the answer, go there and ***go by yourself***. Extricate yourself from the opinions of others and lovers, be with you and fill your well. Creatives need solitude to hear their own voice over the hum of every day life.
In the same way that we can not give love to others if we do not have love for ourselves — we can not have an output of creativity if we do not have our creative well filled.
Make The Time
So, what is the hardest part of this? Making the time. Bad habits are hard to break. If you’re used to turning on your phone first thing in the am, reading emails for two hours, trolling the net, working in spreadsheets, playing video games for hours… setting time to be with yourself, to meditate and to excavate your own wants and needs. It can be scary but oh so rewarding.
So, what is holding you back?
What fills your soul? Answer below.