Refilling Your Well

SunsetWhat do you do when you feel like you are “at the end of your rope,” with no more to give? Writer and artist Julia Cameron writes in The Artist’s Way that each of us has a well or a reservoir of energy and creativity that we are continually drawing from in dealing with the stresses and the demands of our lives.

But if we are always taking something out, we will eventually run dry. That’s where I was about a week ago. After nine months of intense marketing my book (and learning about marketing as I went), revising mywell sequel to submit to the publisher,  traveling, taking care of my home, hubby, and two cats, as well as my various writing groups, and completing several editing jobs, I suddenly found my well dry. Even though the sun was shining (and that usually gives me lots of energy), I had no energy, no ambition, no creativity and no desire to do anything or go anywhere.

So I took an afternoon off, drove to my favorite beach park on Puget Sound and just sat by the water. I watched the seagulls swooping and fighting over tidbits, listened to the gentle lapping of the water, gazed at the white-blue cloudless sky and the glittering sea. I read a little, walked some, jotted down a few words in a notebook. I thought a little, but mostly I just “was.”

The next day, I awoke with amazement–I had more energy, I could think again, and I was eager to do things again.

I’ve done this before, and I seem to forget to “stop and smell the roses” when I’m in my busy, frenetic rut. Nature refills my well and helps my creativity.

What do you do to refill your well?

Published in: on October 1, 2009 at 8:16 pm  Comments (7)  
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  1. I try to refill that well on an ongoing basis- but lately I haven’t been able to find the joy in much. Working a lot of hours for little money, not knowing where the next check is coming from, and trying to market articles has seriously left me dry.
    But always, always I go back to my horse. Desi is the one I own now, but any of my horses can give me that breath of life. I just brush them, or ride, but even cleaning stalls can help.
    The other thing I like to do is go to the ‘River’, the Sacramento changes from the Sacramento into the Bay right at the spot I live. There are always fresh breezes, amazing cloud formations, boats,ships and wildlife to help me refill my tank.

    • Yes, it is a desolate kind of feeling when your well runs dry. There’s no joy, no enthusiasm, everything is dark and heavy. I suffer from S.A.D. in the winter and that’s what that feels like sometimes too. I have to use special light treatments every day to keep myself going. That’s why I love the sunshine!

  2. Usually day trips outside or mini-vacations recharge me. Really, anything that’ll get me out of the house for a bit helps, especially if I’m doing something active or seeing folks I’ve not seen in awhile.

  3. Lately I’ve been in the opposite fix: a well that’s overflowing and not enough time to capture the flood of ideas and get them on the page.

    I’m like Heidi, though. When I do need to pause and refresh, I head into the great outdoors, walking or riding the coulees on our ranch. There’s almost always wildlife of some kind: deer, grouse, coyotes, and of course our little band of Longhorns that are the wiliest of them all!

  4. I meditate, take a walk in nature, listen to the sounds of the wind and creatures. Loved this post, Heidi.

    The Old Silly

  5. Heidi, despite all the sunshine this summer, you have been tearing around, spending a lot of time in a car and seeing the scenery go by. Deadlines don’t help, but you have to eat.

    Just doing nothing and sitting back in nature, most times restores me the fullest. I love those little chickadoodle dees and their antics or a bald eagle sitting in a tree thinking it’s the king of the world. (Maybe it is) I close my eyes and listen to the things I have been passing by.

    Afterwards, I like to go a cafe and just read the newspaper and then write.

    • Thanks, Janet. Being out in nature seems to be the thing that does it best for me too. I have to keep reminding myself to “stop and smell the roses,” because I get so frantically busy I forget!

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