An important part of being a creative person is learning how to refill your well. Ideally, we wouldn’t get burned out, but to be fair, I don’t know a single creative person who hasn’t faced burnout at one point or another. It’s inevitable, no matter how careful you are at taking rests and not overdoing it. We live in a real world of deadlines and we push ourselves too hard because we’re often compete with people who aren’t creative in some weird game of proving ourselves equally valued.
So, what refills your well? What refills my well is other stories. Books, television, movies. It’s amusing to me that most people consider these things a “waste of time.” I consider them vital to my business work. If I don’t put stories in my head constantly, then I don’t have stories to draw in when I sit down to write my own work. And if you think that’s stealing, you don’t understand how creativity works. It’s all stealing, my friends. It’s just that sometimes it’s more mushed up with a bunch of other stuff so you can’t see where it came from.
What else refills my well? Walking. Knitting. Other creative work. Seeing great art. Going to museums. Hanging out with my kids. Cooking for fun for friends. Going out to dinner. And silence. Sometimes a lot of silence. Not to mention actual, you know, sleep.
I suspect that what refills other people’s wells is slightly different, but start to get to know it right now. Sometimes we call this “self-care,” but it’s a slightly different angle for creative people. If a massage and a manicure fills your well, go for it. If new clothes is it for you, do that. But be mindful that what you’re doing actually fills you and doesn’t deplete you because sometimes we think things will fill us and they don’t. Sometimes spending time with friends can deplete you. Sometimes a run by yourself is exactly what you need.