Food for Thought

Writing is an art.

In many of my posts, I discuss the business side of writing–the work behind the works. I’ve talked about marketing, handling rejection, perseverance, practice, and validating the actual nuts and bolts labor of writing as genuine work. There are a lot of mechanics in being a writer.

But there’s a great deal of creativity and imagination in writing. Shaping ideas into words and sentences takes not only practice and patience, but also artistry. Those of us who become writers do it because it is a creative field, a medium of expression that allows us to put our hearts and souls on the page. It is our art.

At points in your writing career, you may find yourself drained, burned out, unable to turn your ideas into coherent and creative writing. Some may call this “writer’s block,” but I think of it as “creative exhaustion.” It’s not that we lack ideas. It’s that our minds have reached a state of exhaustion where they can’t process these ideas in a creative fashion.

We’re human beings, not machines. These days, to be a successful professional writer, it often means being creative on demand, producing ideas and material in a timely and prolific fashion. While this is important and gets better with practice and patience, it’s not infallible. People burn out. To be constantly creative puts a strain on the imagination and exhausts your well of ideas.

Balance is vital in all aspects of life. The opposite of creation is consumption. You need to nourish the body of your creativity. Think of it as “food for thought.” You have a muse who works tirelessly to inspire you. You have to feed that muse, feed the creative thoughts in your head. Artists of any stripe should not just be creators of art, but consumers of art. Watch movies. Read. See a play. Listen to music. Go to a museum. Take a walk a garden. Enjoy creativity so different from your own. See the inspiration out there from other people. Take in their messages and see how your message relates to that global conversation.

Inspiration inside you comes from inspiration outside of you. So fill that wellspring of creativity. Feed the muse.

Soon, the creative exhaustion will pass, the well will refill, and you’ll be able to create again. Because your muses are hungry, and you have to nourish them.

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