I stand in awe of those super prolific writers who seem to release a new book every month, well-written novels in multiple genres. Are they naturally blessed with rich, inexhaustible imaginations that allow them to pluck ideas out of thin air? Maybe. But a more reasonable explanation is that they’re adept at refilling their creative well.
No matter how prolific or leisurely the writer, we all need to refill the creative well now and then to keep our work fresh. This involves slipping away from our computer and our work in progress, and doing something totally unrelated to writing. Those who study the creative process claim that even seemingly unrelated activities can retool the neuropathways in our brains, and have an unexpected influence on our writing in ways that aren’t understood.
One writer friend finds creative inspiration in her daily walk.
Every person she meets and the situations she encounters inspire her to play “What If?”, providing a constant stream of ideas for her popular small town romances. Another friend, a megabestselling author, regularly travels to Ireland. Not only does the pastoral countryside supply her with the uninterrupted quiet to write and a rich variety of characters and situations, but Ireland has become part of her authorial brand.
I find the company of other writers stimulating and inspirational. I meet once a week with three other writers to read and critique each other’s writing. If one of us is stuck on a particular plot point, we brainstorm to get fresh perspectives. Before I know it, my creative brain takes off in a new direction, and the well is refilled.
Often a hobby or interest can yield unexpected benefits to our writing. Several years ago, I needed to feed my visually artistic side by working with color instead of words and learned to make beaded jewelry. Working with beautiful, colorful beads in cystal, handblown glass, and metal was is not only relaxing and creatively gratifying on a purely visual level, but provided me with handmade necklaces to offer as giveaways to readers, who appreciate having something handmade by the author. Has beading made me a better writer? I think so, and I’ll continue to seek these unrelated ways to nudge my creativity.
If you’re a writer, what do you do to refill your creative well, and if you’re a reader, do you have an interest that, in a roundabout way, helps with your work?