Wednesday, April 22
Filling The Well
As the keynote speaker was finished up, she looked from table to table, and reminded all of us to take time to replenish...because child service workers are some of the most overworked and underappreciated in the world (in my humble opinion) and burn-out is particularly high. She was a child of the system, a child of addiction and has made an incredible life for herself and her children...but she said the focus shouldn't be on what she has achieved, but on what workers like those at the banquet had done for her.
"Do whatever you have to do - a bubble bath, a great vacation, escape into your favorite television show, garden - to refill your well...because these kids and families need you," she said, and stepped off the stage.
I think her point can be taken to heart by us, as writers, too. It can be so easy to lose our joy in creating stories and characters and to become overwhelmed with the promotional and selling aspects of our lives as writers. Refilling our creative wells is crucial not only to our ability to survive this business, but to thrive in it. To wake up every day excited to get back to our computer screens, to face another round of revisions or edits and to get over the fact that our book - our baby! - has been read by all of 2 people in the 2 years since it was released.
Taking time away from our computers to enjoy a perfect spring day at the park or really watch as another torrent of rain pours down outside...to read a great book or indulge in some smooth chocolates or a glass of wine can be just as important to our mental health as making time for the keyboard is. Without making time, we will never finish that next project...but if we're defeated and disconnected from our stories, we also may never finish.
One of my favorite ways to refill the well is to people-watch. I go to our mall or the amusement park in the summer, find a bench and just sit. I listen to the conversations around me and soak up the warmth of the sun (or the smell of a hot pretzel) and I don't think about my WIP or that round of edits in my mailbox or where my latest submission is. Sometimes I take a notebook, but more often than not, it's just me. I reconnect with myself and my stories and I refill that well.
What about you? What is your favorite way to refill the well?