Here’s a common pitfall that creative people fall into: give, give, create, create, do, do… stammer a bit, try to forcibly conjure up more energy… squeeze out a feeew more drops of creative juju… deny that we’re getting depleted… try to give some more… and then, finally, reluctantly… admit to ourselves that the well is dry.

The broader truth is that your creative energy IS infinite. It never, ever runs out completely. But it can get temporarily tapped out, especially when you aren’t taking steps to keep the flow moving. You can’t keep give, give, giving of your creative energy indefinitely. Sooner or later, you need to replenish those reserves. In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron refers to this as “filling the well.”

It’s a strange but true fact that many of us (myself included!) have to CONSTANTLY remind ourselves to fill our well. When you neglect to feed and nurture your creative energy, you deal with burn-out and exhaustion and stuckness over and over. This is not a fun cycle, people! It’s so important to take steps to fill your well so that your creative engine can hum smoothly.

Here are 7 ways you can replenish your creative well before you start to feel like you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel. And as an added bonus, they’re all free!

1. Go for a walk.

This is especially relevant if your current circumstances require you to spend a lot of time sitting inside. Walking is one of the most basic yet effective ways to feed your creative spirit. When your legs move, your mind relaxes. Once you catch your stride, your mind expands. The physical movement aligns with the movement of your creative reserves. Even just a twenty minute walk is akin to filling up your car with a fresh tank of gas.

2. Browse the interwebz consciously.

For many of us, mindless internet surfing is a surefire sign that our creative stocks are running low. It’s sooo easy to log on to social media and click link after link after link. Usually, this kind of unconscious browsing only leaves us feeling ickier. When you’re feeling depleted, remind yourself to browse CONSCIOUSLY. Pull up a queue of blogs that inspire you, brew a cup of tea, and indulge in some meaningful cyber time. Partaking of thoughtful creative outputs of others can rekindle your own creative fires.

3. Sit outside with your tarot cards.

Grab a blanket and find a sunny patch of grass. Without any particular agenda, gaze through your favorite deck of cards. Let your conversational brain quiet and just hang out with the images. Try to gently avert the urge to have a structured interaction with your cards and just BE with them. Do this for at least ten minutes.

4. Rearrange your furniture.

Your physical surroundings can have an immense impact on your inner world. Even a simple change – organizing your book shelf, moving your desk slightly to the left – can cause shifts in your inner creative landscape. This could be a grandiose effort of rearranging your entire house, but powerful shifts can come from even tiny external changes.

5. Take yourself on an Artist’s Date.

The artist’s date (a term coined by Julia Cameron) is a solo excursion to do something fun. Pop into a local thrift shop and browse for silly goodies. Check out a museum (lots of them have free exhibits). Or, one of my personal favorites: hit up your local metaphysical store and wander through all the treasures. The idea here is to get out, and try something new by yourself. Your inner artist needs to be courted, and the artist’s date does just that.

6. Get together with a creative friend.

The creative life can sometimes get lonely. It’s vital to feed relationships with those who encourage your creativity. Do you have a friend who also aspires towards creative expansion? Get together with them! Chatting with a fellow creative is a wonderful way to replenish your sense of inspiration and connection.

7. Sleep.

When your creative well starts running low, one of your instinctive responses may be to push yourself. But often, what you really need to do is the opposite! Walk away from your project. Take a nap. Sleep in. Do nothing (seriously, how often do we let ourselves do NOTHING? What a concept!). Observe your dreams. Rest, rest, rest! You’ll know deep down when you’re refreshed and ready to return to work.

Leave a comment and tell me: will you challenge yourself to try one or more of these approaches this week? Which seems most useful to you, and why? I’d be intrigued to know!

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