There are seasons where creativity flows like water, and seasons where it’s a dried up riverbed long after the rains left. Doesn’t matter what the outpouring is, be it writing or painting or designing or composing… eventually the creativity runs dry for a time. Maybe life’s other events take center stage, like a new baby or a job change and relocation, or the death of a loved one. Stress and eustress carve their own focus out of our lives. Or maybe you’re just all tapped out of inspiration. For me, a few of these things hit all at once, and writing became something I just did not have energy for.
I knew this would eventually give way to a compelling to create again. And it is giving way and the inspiration is returning and the creativity is beginning to trickle again. It’s not a stream yet, merely a wet weather creek after a thunderstorm, but it will build, and it will flow for a while.
Life is cyclical like this. And true to my own self, when the creativity dried up, I let it happen, and I went in search of that which restores me. For me, it’s waterfalls and streams. Nature with soft sounds of reassurance that what is happening where I’m standing right now is also already in motion headed downstream to somewhere else. I can sit in the moment and that moment is ever changing around me, ushering in a new moment to me whether I recognize it or not. That’s how I began to renew myself. Out of this creative sabbatical where I asked deep and haunting questions like “what am I doing?” and “what do I want to be doing?” I came to find that inside me are stories wanting to be told right now, and some that are not quite ready.
If you relate to this, know that it’s ok to take time – maybe even more time than you thought you needed – to rest and re-invigorate yourself. Timelines are arbitrary stressors we place on ourselves to meet achievements by a date on a calendar. While they have their uses, if they are so stressful that they are impeding creativity, then maybe it’s time to move the timeline. Time, like water, flows on its own accord, whether we are watching it, standing in it, or resting beside it. Take the time you need; the creativity will come.