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On Ending a Creative Drought

Categories: MFA Confidential Blog.

The advice below was much needed today. I opened Julia
Cameron’s book for some inspiration and there is was. I’ve felt this heaviness
lately, this seriousness, when it comes to my writing. I’m realizing this is
mostly due to the fact that the final months of my program are approaching and
my thesis is wrapping up. Will it be any
good? What will I do next? How will I transition out into the real world, the
writing world beyond the MFA?
With this level of seriousness comes a
certain amount of fear. And fear doesn’t mesh well with creativity. My inner
creator, as Cameron calls it, is begging to come out and play. No wonder why
every word has been so challenging to get out and down. I’m trying too hard. I
must let go and have some fun. Write for the love it.


 

“Creative
droughts come upon us just when we are ‘getting serious’ about our art.
Arguably, they come sweeping in on us because we are ‘getting serious’ about
our art. The fun has gone out of our process. We are focused on product, on ‘how
am I doing?’ The answer is, ‘not well,’ and the drought is the reason.

When
we are ‘in the flow’—even the word speaks of water—ideas come to us naturally
and we collect them like so many beautiful marbles, not even bothering in their
abundance to hold them to the light. In a drought, ideas balk like stubborn
horns. They refuse to come forward, or if they do, they come with ears
flattened, tails lashing, teeth bared against our even thinking of making them
serviceable mounts. A drought is a rebellion. We have pushed our inner creator
too far and it is refusing to be pushed any further. ‘Back off,’ it is
snarling, ‘leave me the hell alone.’

…In a
creative drought we must approach ourselves indirectly. We must sidle up and
coax, offer the wild horse an apple slice, if we are ever again to get bridle
on its head. We must prove ourselves safe and worthy if we are ever to regain
the trust that ends the drought.”

-Julia
Cameron, The Sound of Paper

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5 Responses to On Ending a Creative Drought

  1. Kate says:

    Marla– Thanks! I will definitely check out your article.

    Paul- Yes– cheers to writing! Thanks for checking out the blog. I’ll visit yours, too. :)

  2. Paul Hile says:

    Thanks for sharing! This is such a crucial and important thing to remember! Cheers to writing!

  3. Hi Kate, thanks for posting this today: good stuff. Happy that Cameron’s advice is spurring you on to write "for the fun of it" — I remember how difficult it was to let myself play on the page in the serious midst of graduate school: especially during thesis crunch time!

    You might enjoy reading this blog post on the subject: "The Art of Not-Trying: 3 Habits to Cultivate Flow" <a href="http://bit.ly/8AQiKL"/a&gt; http://bit.ly/8AQiKL

    Good luck, have fun & keep us posted!
    -Marla

  4. Kate says:

    That’s exactly what I’m doing! I am analyzing, thinking, criticizing… all that WHILE I am writing. I need to write from the heart and attack the rest later. My father has a sign in his study that says THINK. I need one that says THINK LESS!

    Thanks, Kristan!

  5. Kristan says:

    Exactly. I forget now where I heard this, but basically if you’re thinking about doing something, then you’re not really doing it. You’re thinking. And thus your doing will suffer. So I try not to THINK about writing when I’m writing. I just write. It’s not always an easy mentality to get into, but I find that what I produce is better when I can manage it.

    So, think less, do more! I’m sure your thesis will be great. :)

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