On Creative Drought Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links Jul 31

Even a withered stalk can generate a beautiful flower.

Even a withered stalk can generate a beautiful flower.

While our situation is not as severe as the one in California or many others around the world, this summer has been one of the driest in recent history for our little north-of-Boston town. Water bans are in effect all across the region, causing lawns to wither and crisp under the cruel and oppressive rays of the sun. Garden plants and flowers wilt and fade during the day, recovering as best they can in the slightly cooler and blessedly darker overnight hours. Rooted in the ground, the parched plants have no escape from the heat or the searing touch of the sun’s rays. They can only endure in silence and hope to survive long enough to feel the life-giving caress of a good, soaking rain.

For weeks now, we have been watching the weather reports for any signs of precipitation. On a few occasions, the meteorologists have forecast rain, but it seems like our tiny town has some kind of forcefield around it. Again and again, our hearts are lifted by the promise of rain, but more often than not, the storm detours around us, or the drops evaporate before reaching the ground. Even last weekend, when towns on all sides were ravaged by impressive thunderstorms, we had only a brief shower that barely managed to properly wet the dry earth before rushing out to sea.

I feel for the plants. I can imagine how they pine for a long, slow drink of water. I can imagine this because I have been feeling the same way about my creative work lately. Summer arrived at my doorstep with a flurry of client projects, and while I’m always grateful to be gainfully employed, keeping up with the deadlines has meant putting aside not only my Big Picture creative projects, but all of my daily creative and self-care routines as well.

My morning pages practice has dwindled to only a few pages every couple of weeks. I have only done yoga (a practice which provides me with time and headspace for nurturing random thoughts and writing ideas) a half dozen times in the last four or five months. My pleasure reading has been slow to the point of having to sometimes back-track when I return to a book because it’s been so long since my last read that I’ve forgotten what was happening in the story.

Each of us faces period of creative drought. Whether we’re overwhelmed with work, dealing with a personal crisis, or have had our creative time usurped by the family and social obligations of summer, there will be days (or weeks, or months) when we simply can’t make the time we’d like to nurture our creative projects. Though I’m in the middle of such a period, and – I won’t lie – am feeling a little cranky about it, I can still step back and offer a little encouragement to others who might be going through a similar experience right now:

  • Number One: This too shall pass. Yes, I know it’s a bit trite, but it’s also true. Whatever is taking up your time and keeping you from your creative endeavors will eventually move on and out of your life. You will get back to your projects and your dreams. You might have to be patient for a while, but that’s not such a bad thing. Just try to roll with it.
  • Number Two: Even in times of creative drought, you can create. While I have been feeling frustrated and put out by my inability to make time for my usual creative pursuits, I am trying to remember that there are tiny creative acts that only take a few minutes. I may not have large chunks of time to write on a story or tackle the complex task of organizing source materials for a larger work, but I can pen one or two lines or edit a photo for Instagram or doodle in the margin of my notebook. Those may not be impressive accomplishments, but something is better than nothing.
Despite it's diminutive size, our smallest tomato plant is yielding the most robust crop of the season.

Despite it’s diminutive size, our smallest tomato plant is yielding the most robust crop of the season.

We must remember that we are not the drought. The drought is just an external circumstance, not a reflection of our creative spark or spirit. Even if we are unable to engage in the external act of creation, the source of our creativity is alive and well – hunkered down beneath the cracked earth, just waiting until the rains some so it can burst forth and blossom.

Just you wait and see.

_jamie sig

 

 


My Favorite Blog Reads for the Week:

CRAFT

PUBLISHING & MARKETING

INSPIRATION

THE WRITING LIFE

··• )o( •··

Finally, a quote for the week:

I’m stealing borrowing this week’s quote from the lovely and delightful Sara Foley, who borrowed it in turn from Raising Ecstasy:

pin vonnegut edge

Here’s to getting close to the edge, weathering the droughts, and always being ready to emerge from underground when the rains finally come.
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Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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20 thoughts on “On Creative Drought Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links Jul 31

    • I’m right with you. Fall is always my favorite season anyway, and this year for more reasons than usual.
      When September arrives, I’ll be dancing with delight. 😉

    • You’re so welcome.
      Thanks for looking me up on Instagram and Facebook – glad to be connected there! 🙂

  1. Pingback: All About Creativity! | Anna Hergert, Art & Design

  2. Reblogged this on Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning" and commented:

    On Creative Drought Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links Jul 31
    by Suddenly Jamie (@suddenlyjamie)
    Even a withered stalk can generate a beautiful flower.
    Even a withered stalk can generate a beautiful flower.

    While our situation is not as severe as the one in California or many others around the world, this summer has been one of the driest in recent history for our little north-of-Boston town. Water bans are in effect all across the region, causing lawns to wither and crisp under the cruel and oppressive rays of the sun. Garden plants and flowers wilt and fade during the day, recovering as best they can in the slightly cooler and blessedly darker overnight hours. Rooted in the ground, the parched plants have no escape from the heat or the searing touch of the sun’s rays. They can only endure in silence and hope to survive long enough to feel the life-giving caress of a good, soaking rain.

    For weeks now, we have been watching the weather reports for any signs of precipitation…

  3. We know all about your droughts here 😊 I know that feeling of a seeming forcefield around your town. It’s not drought here, but the seasons are all messed up. The rain comes at odd times, it’s hot then cold. It’s not as if the scientists haven’t been telling us for at least 40 years…and here we are.
    I have come to accept that my creative writing has to be put aside n the guts of the university semester, because to do it is to take the joy out of it and overload my system. That’s ok I am finding, apparently we have seasons too.
    Gosh, how good was that Steven Pressfield article on your life theme! What do you think yours is? It’s complicated, and I have more than one, but in my writing, I only ever seem to want to understand. Usually myself, but whatever it is that I write about.
    Hey, and thanks for link my friend ❤️

    • My creative drought definitely has an element of seasonality, but also a waxing and waning sense of urgency. In one moment, I feel very Zen about knowing that this too shall pass; and the next I am hearing the clock ticking like some harbinger of ultimate doom. I think my Libran sun sign makes me more susceptible than most to a yearning for balance, even though I know full well that balance is not a static state, but – rather – a constantly moving target. 😉

      I did love the piece by Pressfield on “life theme.” It really resonated with some side projects (projects which I have not yet had time to pursue) that I’ve been simmering on the back burner of my brain. As for my life theme … I’m definitely still working on that, but I think it also has to do with understanding as well as with sort of opening up … to experience and expression and joy and sorrow and “feeling all the feelings,” as the cool kids like to say on the interwebs. 😉 It’s about grounding myself in this moment right now while simultaneously sending my mind out in countless directions through space and time, both actions making me more “me” and tuning me into the world and my existence in it.

      How’s that for a rambling, only semi-coherent answer?

      • Perfect! Your rambling semi coherency is something the rest of us can only aspire to 🙂 I so identify with your craving for balance – I have a Libran moon, which is the reason why I often write about balance. Not everyone thinks this is important, I have discovered to my surprise 😊

  4. Your personal definition of drought is a pretty high bar – as sara says, “the rest of us can only aspire to”. You’ve managed nonetheless to offer us a long list of useful links and written us a consoling post cum photos. Thanks! My summer writing drought has led me to the unspeakable: actually re-blogging 3 of my old blogs haha. Though I must say I like them 🙂 Weird your town gets bypassed by the thunderstorms. If cranky helps, so be it!

    • Hello, Bea!
      So sorry this is so late. My computer died on Aug 2nd (the day you left your comment), and I’ve been in a bit of a tail spin since then. Just getting myself back up and running today.

      I’m glad you liked the post, and wanted to tell you that there’s no shame in reposting old content. In fact, that’s a pretty smart tactic that many people miss out on because they feel guilty about doing it! So – kudos to you for taking advantage of a smart strategy. 🙂

  5. Pingback: Writing (in) the Moment Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links | Live to Write – Write to Live

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