I tend to burn myself out a lot, so it can be hard to stop and take the time to fill my cup back up. There are lots of different names for your creative cup– Some call it a creative well, or a creative bank account. My creative cup tends to be the most complicated of the cups I have to fill, because it’s not as easy as “Get more rest” or “take a break.” Over the last year or two, I’ve taken some time to really think about what helps me refill myself on a creative level and I would like to share those tips with you in case they might help you as well!
Figure Out If Your Hobbies Take Creative Energy
A couple years ago on Twitter, a fan asked a beloved comic writer if she did tabletop gaming. If I remember right, she said no, because the energy required for games like Dungeons and Dragons drew from the same creative well her writing did.
Admittedly, some of my own hobbies do draw from the same creative cup as my writing. Prior to seeing that conversation it was something I had not thought about. If you feel like your well of creative energy is always dry, you may want to check out your hobbies and see if you’re drawing from that same well.
Get Back to Basics
Watch craft videos by your favorite author. Re-read your favorite books. Listen to podcasts you enjoy about craft.
When I’m feeling like I don’t have anything left in my cup, I often go listen writing advice given by Neil Gaiman or I got listen to Podcast recordings that feature Kelly Sue DeConnick. They are two of the writers who always inspire me and help me learn more about myself as a writer. I have Neil’s non-fiction books on my phone and I’ve saved several podcasts Kelly appeared on.
You can also watch shows that make you feel inspired or just better. My go-to tends to be either Veronica Mars or Parks and Rec. Neither show is in line with the kind of writing I want to do, but I admire the characters and in general, their arcs make me feel good.
Sometimes, as a writer, a good act of self-care is watching something where you’re not trying to pick apart character development or three-act structure.
Silence Your Inner Critic
Free write. Pick a prompt and see where things go and ignore that nagging voice in the back of your head that keeps saying “This isn’t good enough.” I have been friends with a lot of writers with beautiful, big goals over the years. Many of them get started and give up before they get anywhere because they let their inner critic take over and tell them that anything short of perfection is not worth it.
I have said this a lot on the blog, but failure is a part of the process. We learn by failing, because if we’re failing, we’re doing something. We’re working toward something.
Moving forward is more than half the battle and you can do it!