When You’re In The Desert, Make Sandcastles

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dry, spell, creative, art, juice, sandcastles, idea, flowSchool is back in session in my house.  

Homeschooling is more than just safety and shelter for us.  It’s about teaching my children to use their creative abilities to learn and process the world around them.  We use very little out-of-the-box curriculum.  Instead, we choose from a variety of sources from which to learn.  We spend a lot of time learning together.  We read, write, travel, engage, and discuss.  It’s a lot of fun, and a lot of work.

This is my first year homeschooling a high-school student.  The game plan is the same but the stakes just got higher.  Working up subject goals, scheduling field trips, answering questions, grading papers, and tracking progress uses up a lot of my creative time and energy.  Some days, after the school books are put away, I feel drained.

I often sit with my laptop open and stare at the screen.  Trying to squeeze one last drop of creative juice out of my brain.  It’s a struggle.  I feel dried up.  Like the flow of inspiration has run out and the ground is cracked and dry.

Perhaps you feel the same way after spending all day at work or in classes, you come home with your reserves empty.  You give your best to someone else and then fight to come up with something original for yourself.

Instead of waiting for the rain to fall and some new idea strike you, just work with what you’ve got.  Art can still be made from the driest of places.

Here are some ways to get the ideas flowing again in a creative desert.

  1. Re-hash some old ideas.
  2. Consider ways to improve some previous projects.
  3. Start a gratitude list of things that you’re thankful for.
  4. Jot down some notes from a book that changed your life.
  5. Read some quotes.
  6. Draw Whinnie the Pooh or some other cartoon character.
  7. Create blackout poetry.
  8. Teach someone a portion of what you do.
  9. Clean your creative space.
  10. Take yourself on an artist’s date.

There’s no use getting frustrated over the creative dry spells.  In fact, frustration with yourself only makes it worse.  Instead, enjoy and appreciate your past successes and let your inner artist take a break.

Life is hard.  We can’t always have the best in life, but we can make the best of life. When things go sour, make lemonade.  When things go dry, make sandcastles.

What things in your life are creatively draining?  How can you give your inner artist a break?  Share your ideas here. 

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