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  • Writer's pictureSophia Dunkin-Hubby

The Doldrums

View of palms fronds dripping with rain, a beige house with a gray roof in the background.

It's the dreaded time of year - after all the holidays. The decorations have been put away, except for the champion procrastinators. New Year's Resolutions have been made and broken. And for those with time off the newness of being back to work or school has worn off. Real life has taken firm hold again. In the winter. Sigh. We're into the doldrums.

It's often hard to muster up the energy to do more than the bare minimum, let alone find/create inspiration and entertainment. If you did NaNoWriMo or had a big burst of creativity during the holidays you may be in the winter part of your creative energy cycle. So, what to do? I have some suggestions.

Disclaimer: All opinions and recommendations are my own. This post is not sponsored nor are any of the links affiliate links.

1. Take a break from reading. There's a part of the Artist's Way (a brilliant 12 week self directed course to discover your creativity ) that requires you to stop reading for a week. And I mean anything. No emails, no books, no magazines, no news, no social media, nothing. Aside from the major challenge this poses in today's modern world it does something incredible. The vacuum created by not reading any words ends up being filled by your own. Since we all rely on email at work this may not be reasonable for you to try for a whole week, but you can try it over a weekend. Take a break and see what happens. It takes some serious commitment but the results are crazy.

2. Read a book on creativity, or listen to a podcast. Some of my favorites - Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert, Everyone Can Write by Brian Astbury, Your Inner Critic is a Big Jerk by Danielle Krysa and Martha Rich, Magic Lessons Podcast with Elizabeth Gilbert, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.

3. Try a writing exercise. My two favorites are Mind Mapping and a timed free write to a prompt, both detailed in Everyone Can Write. I also like morning pages from The Artist's Way. The most important part of all of these is to put down whatever you're thinking without judgement, even if you end up writing "this is stupid, I don't know what to write" a bunch of times. They really work.

4. Make Valentine's Day cards. Get a bunch of paper doilies, glitter, glue, markers, paint, and some card stock and go to town. It may feel silly but working with your hands is a great way to get your brain moving and creativity flowing.

5. Fill your well. Go to a museum. Read a book. Go to the movies. Catch up on your Netflix queue or Amazon watch list. Sign up for a pottery class. Download Duolingo and learn a language. Schedule time to meet up with friends for lunch or coffee. Get outside and go for a walk or hike. Whatever nurtures your soul, make time for it.

6. Give yourself permission to not be creative or inspired. This is the more important. It's ok to not feel inspired or creative. Like I said in last week's post we can't be creative all the time. Prepare the ground and it will come back. But in the meantime don't beat yourself up.

Photo by Sophia Dunkin-Hubby

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