In my faith tradition, we often talk about refilling the cup or the well, this need to resupply ourselves with energy, with rest, with the things that inspire. For writers – or artists of any sorts – this refilling, this determination to resupply is essential. It is not an option, something we can put off because we are busy doing or making. Refilling our reserves is a requirement of being a creative person in this world.
If you’re feeling dry or can’t find the words, think back about the past few weeks or months of your life. How much have you given out? Have you given it all away without replenishing?
What Dries Us Out
What is taxing, draining, or exhausting varies from person to person. Some of us are bled dry by parenting or by our day jobs. Some of us find the weight of family crises or the hope of great things to be the source of our fatigue. Some of us are bent over by the history of trauma or loss or grief.
Hear me when I say this, my friends: The fact that you are worn thin or tired out by something is not a failure on your part. We all are made weary by some things in our lives. That is the nature of human existence on this broken earth, so please shed the guilt over being weary. There’s no value to that.
What Fills Us Up
Just like what drains us is individual so is what gives us vibrancy and energy. Some of us find time in nature to be a markedly well-filling experience, and some of us love the energy of a city street at night. Some of us enjoy a quiet night with our families and a movie, some a rousing game of Uno by the lake. A stroll through an art museum lifts some, and hours bent over an engine boisters others.
There is no right or wrong in what fills you (Okay, except of course if it harms you or others, so let’s not slip into the very dangerous idea that alcohol or drugs are the way to inspiration. That belief has killed far too many a writer.) Rather, the key is to find what gives you more energy that it takes.
Knowing What Works For You
The key to our understanding here is to understand what gives us energy and what takes our energy. If something takes our energy, then it is an activity that we need recovery and replenishment time from. If something rejuvenates us, then we can use it to fuel our creativity.
Here are a few things to consider:
- How do you feel when you are out in the natural world?
- How do you feel at home?
- How do feel in large groups of people?
- How do you feel when you talk with a great friend?
- How do you feel when you work with your hands?
- How do you feel when you take in art or music or a book?
- How do you feel when you watch TV or a movie?
- How do you feel when you move your body?
Maybe spend a few minutes jotting down your answers to these questions and see what you find. Then, think about how you can incorporate the restorative practices into your weekly life. Note, adding in what fills you may mean you have to give up something else. . . and I encourage you to consider that sacrifice well worth it if you want to write.
What Fills Me Up
Here are just a few of the parts of my life that give me joy and refill my writerly well, including cross-stitch (I’m working on that wedding sampler above for Philip and I.):
What fills you up? Are you building time for that in your life? Leave a comment – with a picture if you’d like – below. I’d love to hear what refills that writerly well of yours.
A quick reminder – the limited time price for our Writer’s Retreat here at the farm ends on May 31, so be sure to grab one of the last 15 seats for yourself before the price goes up. Get more information and register here – http://andilit.com/2017retreat. Hope to see you in exactly a month!!