On Ending a Creative Drought

Publish date:

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.

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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.

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.”

Cameron,The Sound of Paper

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