I 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.