When Creativity Runs Dry, Creative Madness of Anne Mateer!

Genres: Christian Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance

anne mateerI am finally, finally settling into my empty nest. We had four months of it last fall, then our daughter graduated from college and came to live at home and find a job. She finally did get a job in her desired field, but she learned very quickly that she wouldn’t be moving out of our house anytime soon on her salary and that she needed another degree to really do the job she wanted. She had applied to grad schools but hadn’t heard back so wasn’t sure what to do. Then she got accepted to a great program and off she went, half-way across the country! With our two boys back at college, my house is suddenly quiet. And still. I have space to breathe. And think. And to my dismay, I discovered that my creative juices all but dried up over the course of the chaotic past few months!

My creativity spurs from my imagination. I’ve lived with the craziness in my head so long I don’t quite know how to live without it! Nor do I want to. So how do you find the wellspring of creativity once again when it seems to have gone dry? I’m exploring several different activities toward that end right now. Here are some that seem to be digging beyond the surface and tapping the creativity pooling deep inside me.

  • Organizing: I know, this doesn’t sound like an activity that would fuel creativity, but for me it does. There is sometimes intrinsically creative about figuring out the best way to organize a closet or a kitchen cabinet or even my Evernote notebooks and tags! There are endless things to organize, so this is an endless source of drilling down to creativity.
  • Tangible History: For me, museums or living history exhibits provide a spark of creativity that just reading about history doesn’t. Not that I don’t enjoy reading history. I do. But pictures and objects—things to be seen or touched, the “tangible”—give my imagination something to grab hold of and run with.
  • Movies: I like the visual of movies. I often watch a scene and find myself thinking how I’d describe the character’s actions on the page or how I’d convey through words the emotion inspired by a character on the screen. That wielding of words in my head is an intensely creative exercise.
  • Reading: Almost goes without saying for a writer, but truly, reading really good writing stirs my own creativity. It makes me want to dig deeper into myself for both words and emotions. Good books also create questions in my mind—questions that can be pursued even to the point of inspiring my own unique writing project.

Creativity, like most other resources, doesn’t necessarily always flow from a limited source. Sometimes it has to be mined. Drilled for. Sought. And when it appears again after an absence, no matter how long or short, working creatively makes me feel even more alive.

Whatever the direction of your creative bent, have you ever found yourself in a dry season? What did you do to find your creativity again?

Playing by Heart by Anne Mateer
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Pages: 320 Trade Paperback
Date Published: September 2014
Publisher: Bethany House

Lula Bowman has finally achieved her dream: a teaching position and a scholarship to continue her college education in mathematics. But then a shocking phone call from her sister, Jewel, changes everything.

With a heavy heart, Lula returns to her Oklahoma hometown to do right by her sister, but the only teaching job available in Dunn is combination music instructor/basketball coach. Lula doesn’t even consider those real subjects!

Determined to prove herself, Lula commits to covering the job for the rest of the school year. Reluctantly, she turns to the boys’ coach, Chet, to learn the newfangled game of basketball. Chet is handsome and single, but Lula has no plans to fall for a local boy. She’s returning to college and her scholarship as soon as she gets Jewel back on her feet.

However, the more time she spends around Jewel’s family, the girls’ basketball team, music classes, and Chet, the more Lula comes to realize what she’s given up in her single-minded pursuit of degree after degree. God is working on her heart, and her future is starting to look a lot different than she’d expected.

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About Anne Mateer

Anne Mateer is a novelist with a passion for history and historical fiction. She and her husband live near Dallas, Texas, and are the parents of three young adults. Learn more at www.annemateer.com.
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  • Pam K.

    I’m not a writer but for a creative outlet, I make greeting cards. I find that sometimes it is hard for me to be creative because my craft area is in the basement where there isn’t much natural light. I seem to be happier and more creative when there is plenty of sunlight. However, since I can’t easily change the location where I craft, I have to make do. Looking at idea books often gives me a start. I rarely make a card exactly like the one pictured but I seem to need that photo to unleash my own creativity.
    I can understand how organizing helps your creativity. Having things orderly helps me to be more productive and creative.
    Thanks for this interview. I have an empty nest as well so can relate to that. I’ve read your first two books and really enjoy them. I think I have A Home for my Heart waiting on my Kindle. I look forward to reading it and then hopefully Playing by Heart.

    • Anne Mateer

      I love your creative outlet, Pam! I wish I had that visual and crafty kind of creativity! We all need something, don’t we? Thank you for your kind words about my stories. 🙂

  • Lane Hill House

    I am a reader of your fabulous stories, Anne. Looking at your Pinterest cottages and flowers, tearooms, I would dream… an inventor ~ bicycle built for two, boys with hoops and stick, little girls being read to by an older sibling to look up to, orphan train delivering to those long waiting to love them not to be served as a convenient extra hand, ~ occupation ~ cheesemaker at dairy creamery, milk truck driver to farms, rural mail carrier, caption of photo says, “Cheese on sale at a creamery in the San Francisco ferry building.” (In case it doesn’t print, here is the location ~ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creamery.) San Francisco ferry building…. Historical fiction is my very favorite genre. So much more than we might have learned in school, I appreciate the research authors do to place their characters within the happenings/events of the time period. Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net and I would love to win your new novel!

  • lyssa armstrong

    immersing myself in other peoples lives gets my creativity flowing again when I feel I’ve run dry. Really learning about them, the good, the bad, their history, it all gets my imagination working. Looking forward to reading your book!

  • Michelle

    I just stumbled across your blog and creative ideas! How wonderful….such a great discovery. I’m an avid reader, a budding author and a craft-a-holic. I was once told you should do a little of what you like every day. More mundane commitments prevent that. However, I do allow myself the luxury to daydream about them as I go about my daily tasks. That gives me the head start I need when I find the physical time to create!!! Thank you for your books…I love historical Christian romances. They are a great escape with a pure message!

    • Anne Mateer

      So glad you “stumbled upon” us, Michelle! Yes, thinking about what we will do when time permits sure helps fire up the creativity when that time opens up. It’s nice to meet other writers and readers, so thanks for commenting!

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