Rain Dances and Dowsing Rods
This month has gone by too quickly. I have had a lot on my plate, both at work and at home, and as a result my writing has ground to a halt. While my day job is not the stuff of Office Space or Joe Vs. the Volcano, it can leave me drained, brain dead and too tired to even keep my eyes open for a little TV before calling it a night. Then I find myself filling the weekends with chores and errands and not a lot of creative play.
I reach the end of a week or a month and realize that the most creative thing I wrote was a work memo about a change in healthcare policy, or an agenda for a meeting. Not exactly the stuff of dreams! 🙂
At times like this I realize that I need to go to the well and rejuvenate myself. Going to the well can mean many things to different people. For me, it means wallowing in fiction, listening to music, getting outside of myself and relearning the practice of writing. If I don’t do this on a regular basis, I start to get squirrelly. I feel out of sorts and agitated. For others, going to the well may require a passport. But either way, if we do not go to the well, we will find ourselves stagnating in the stale boredom of day to day living. Doesn’t sound too pleasant does it?
Recently, I came across a post by Chad
Thompson Thomas Johnston titled When Work Begets Wonder, (thank you, RC Gale). What an inspiring read! In it Chad talks about learning to do rain dances to bring on the downpour of inspiration even when there isn’t a cloud in the sky.
While some people liken creativity to rain that we pull from the air around us, I like to think of creativity as a river running underground beneath our feet at all times. It is available to everyone equally. We just have to be willing to drop down into it from time to time.
I can attest that sometimes this river of ideas proves to be quite elusive. So in a sense we are like diviners, carrying our dowsing rods on a meandering journey, in search of the water flowing beneath the surface. Even when we have learned the craft of divination, I am sure there will be many days when it seems like everyone but me has the next great book idea! But reading Chad’s post reminded me of another ingredient to creative success. Showing up. You have to go to the well, drop into the river, and show up even on the days where you cannot seem to find it. Some writers say that is the only way the muse will know where to find you. You have to show up at your desk every day and write.
I think as a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of writer I tend to wait for inspiration to strike, and then find myself getting itchy if it doesn’t strike right away. I need to change my approach. I need to show up every day, despite being tired, despite the daily chores, despite the day job, and put in the work. Not writing is an easy habit to fall into, and a tough one to break. Daily writing is a challenge, but well worth the effort.
Are you feeling stuck in the flourescent hum of the office? Do you feel like your creative self disappeared shortly after your mud pie phase as a kid? What do you do when you go to the well? And where do you find inspiration?