What to Do When Your Creative Juices Run Dry

It’s been wet, wet, wet here on the west coast! I’m talking about non-stop rain the whole day yesterday, from morning till noon till night. School closures all around the Bay Area, which is something I have never witnessed (or ever had the pleasure of partaking in when I was a kid!). Lots of big puddles that the munchkins had a blast jumping and sloshing around in yesterday when we ventured out for lunch. And about 2-5 inches of total rainfall, depending on where you live. It was not exactly the #stormageddon or #stormpocalypse that the weather channels had been predicting, but there was a whole lotta water pouring down from the skies.

Yes, we Californians have a sense of humor.

Yes, we Californians have a sense of humor.

Now, wouldn’t it be great if our creative juices could flow just as freely and heavily as rain? That ideas – and not just ideas, but brilliant ideas – would pop into our heads as soon as we picked up a paintbrush, placed our fingers on an instrument, sat down in front of a keyboard, took a look into the refrigerator or peered into a microscope? Wouldn’t it be great if those brilliant ideas would then turn into a beautiful painting, a moving song, a breathtaking story, a scrumptious meal or a cool scientific discovery?

It wouldn’t be great, it would be awesome.

Like water, creative juices have a tendency to ebb and flow. Sometimes creativity comes like a downpour, other times like a trickle. Every once in a while, however, our creative juices just run dry. I’m talking about cracked, sun-scorched, no-liquid-in-sight kind of dry. Something like this picture here:

Image courtesy of numanzaa/freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of numanzaa/freedigitalphotos.net

When I saw this image, the first thing that popped into my head was, Was that tree photoshopped in? How could any living thing grow out of and survive in such dry earth?

Thanks to the power of Google, I found out the impossible can be possible. According to this article from USA Today, plants that live in the Sahara (the world’s largest hot desert) do so thanks to their extensive root systems. Their roots have the ability to suck water up from deep under the ground, to as far as 150 feet below the dry surface. Talk about ingenuity! (God thinks of everything. :D)

This got me thinking that plants in the Sahara know a thing or two about thriving. Since water won’t come to them, they find a way to get to the water.

So how does this apply to us as people? Well, when our creative juices run dry, instead of waiting for inspiration to strike us, we need to go out and search for it.

The best sources of inspiration that I’ve found are other people. People who are creative in the areas that you excel in and enjoy, as well as people who are creatively different from you. Because when it all comes down to it, creativity comes from a need to explore and invent. If you look around, you’ll find countless people in your life who have that same need. Allow their work and enthusiasm to tug at your heart, tickle your creative bone and move you to tears or laughter, so you want to start dreaming again.

Although it’s been raining in California, I’ve been experiencing a creative drought (aka. writer’s block). This dry spell had me feeling constipated (artistically speaking!) and shriveled up like a prune for days. But thanks to a good conversation with a creative friend and some episodes of The Voice, I got inspired again to write. And I’m happy to announce I’m working on my second novella and am finally making good progress on it. God willing, I’ll be publishing it during the spring of 2015.

Here’s one song that tugged at my creative heartstrings recently. I love the different take that Damien (one of The Voice contestants) puts on Paula Cole’s song, “I Don’t Want to Wait”. (Any fellow Dawson’s Creek fans out there? :P)

Who inspires you in your creative quests? Do share, so we can be inspired together!