The Seasons of a Creative Life ~ Part 4: Winter

The Seasons of a Creative Life ~ Part 4: Winter

This is the final post in a 4-part series on the Seasons of a Creative Life. You can read part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here.

In the Winter we turn inward for renewal and replenishment.

It may feel like nothing is happening, like we have dried up and have no more good ideas or inspiration or energy for creativity. We are tempted to panic.

But this season is needed too.

This is a time for absorbing new sources of inspiration—reading great books, watching films, listening to music, going to art shows, following our passions and interests, trusting the process, even though it is not yet yielding any outer work.

We may, in fact, during this phase be continuing to go to our studio every day—that’s good!—even though nothing is flowing. We are not creating anything we like. Have patience!

Winter: A Time of Mystery and Transformation

Many changes are taking place in the dark under the soil. Many new seeds are waiting to sprout.

Before a transformation in our style, a breakthrough to something new, we often go through a kind of death of the old, which can feel painful and bewildering and scary.

This is winter. Everything looks dead and frozen, but tremendous things are happening within, waiting for the conditions of spring to burst forth again.

Keep Feeding Your Inner Life

Make use of this time by going within, getting to know yourself better, mining your history, your fascinations, your emotions for new directions.

This is also a great time for inner transformational work, to clear new pathways within.

In the winter, we read seed catalogs and plan our gardens, letting ourselves freely dream and imagine. We also let ourselves slow down, rest and renew, so that we can have energy for the spring and summer ahead.

If You Get Stuck in Winter

Sometimes we get stuck in winter. Uninspired and feeling lifeless, we don’t have the energy or hope to dream. We are in the doldrums.

If that is happening, it can be wise to get some help. Take a class to get new inspiration or reach out from some one-on-one mentoring from me to get your creative juices and enthusiasm flowing again and open up possibilities in your life you may never have even dreamed were possible.

Trust the Wisdom of the Seasons

When we think we should always be inspired and flowing, we are making unfair demands on ourselves. We blame ourselves or our circumstances for something being amiss. Really it may be that nothing is wrong. We are simply in another season with different gifts that we can use, if we become aware of them.

Start to notice the cycles in your creative life and to flow with them, rather than resisting them.

How can I make use of this time to further my creativity and creative dreams?

Is this a time for gathering new sources of inspiration and studying new skills?

Or is it a time for collaboration and sharing of work?

Is this a time for creating lots of new first drafts, just letting them pour out without censoring or judging?

Or is this a time for revising and revisiting, seeing how I can improve on earlier work?

Every season has its blessings and is needed to complete the full cycle of creation.

Share below what you got from reading this post. I’d love to hear. And, of course, if it feels valuable, share it with a friend.

The Seasons of a Creative Life ~ Part 2: Summer

The Seasons of a Creative Life ~ Part 2: Summer

This is part 2 of a 4-part series of the Seasons of a Creative Life. If you missed part 1, read it here.

Following the period of initial inspiration, the Springtime of your creative cycles, comes Summer.

Summer is a time of tending our new shoots and watching them grow, watering, feeding, and weeding.

This is the period of working on our creative projects with devotion, logging the hours it takes to bring something from seed to fruit. This is where you put in regular “studio time” so those precious, bright ideas can become actual finished pieces.

Summer: A Time of Sustained Growth

The summer of our creative life is the middle of writing the novel, making the painting, choreographing the dance piece, or building the house. You are riding the current of the initial ideas and sustaining the growth to bring your project or dream to completion.

This is the phase in my IMAGINE Dreamtending process that I call GROW. This is when you grow your dream from its first shoots into a full, healthy plant.

At this cycle, you need structure, a map or plan, a way to break your big goal down into do-able steps. You need support, feedback and regular doses of inspiration, so you can keep going.

Summer: A Time of Sharing

Summer is also an expansive, outward-focused time in the natural world. We tend to be more playful and more social in this season. In the summer of your creative life, this is a time to put on shows, give readings or performances, send your work out in the world or find ways to share it with others, even if it is just a few others. You might want to collaborate on a project at this time.

PeopleTalking_123rfOur creative lives need this sharing of our ideas and creations in order to feel meaningful and complete, in order to keep generating energy and enthusiasm to create. If you are lacking in creative community or places to share your work, you are missing a key, essential element in a creative life. (See my book 6 Essential Ingredients of a Thriving Creative Life.)

If that is the case for you, take a class, join or start a group, rent studio space in a collective, host a creative salon in your living room, find like-minded people who are up to similar things that you can be in creative conversation with.

In my next post, we’ll visit the creative season of Autumn and learn how valuable and essential that season is.

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