What we do with every other area of our lives is what ultimately decides how inspired and vibrant we are creatively. How we live our lives matters. How, or whether or not we take the time to fill our cup? That matters too. Enormously.
I know from experience that I write best when I am happy (let me know if it's this way for you too) and in order to be happy, I can't just neglect myself, staying locked away in my office gaping at my laptop for hours and days on end. There's a time and place for that, sure. When I'm on a role writing a novel, I want nothing more than to be left to it - time alone in the office, salt lamp and diffuser going full blast, quiet sorod music, yes please! But I find that in order to even arrive at this place of settling in for deep writing sessions, I need to have prepared myself with a well-rounded lifestyle of actively taking the time to fill my cup. Otherwise, I'm not refreshed, I'm not stoked to write, and I feel generally burnt out.
We all know the feeling, and it sucks, right?
In my humble experience, taking time to fill my cup, to cultivate joy is what makes it possible for me to, in turn, experience joy in my writing. I have to arrive at my desk with joy already in my possession. When I show up empty handed, looking to my craft to create some satisfaction in my life, it puts a massive strain on our relationship.
In the past, I would sometimes even get feelings of anxiety when I would show up to write. I would be tired, weary, and on edge, hoping that I could write well enough that day to feel "accomplished" and, in turn, happy and fulfilled. What I didn't realize at the time was that it was this exact mindset that was negatively impacting my relationship with my writing. I was putting my writing on this pedestal, expecting it to "fix" everything for me, and bring me happiness. By doing this, and at the same time also realizing that there was a good chance I would not ultimately feel joyful by using this method, I would often feel hugely anxious and put my writing off, procrastinating and creating excuses to not write because I was secretly afraid that writing would fail to bring me happiness...and the expectations I'd constructed around my career would come crashing down around me.
What I didn't understand was that writing can never make me happy. Nothing we do can; the act of writing is simply an experience, and like all experiences, it's not the things that are occuring or being engaged in that make us happy, it's who we are while doing them. We must be nourished in every sense in order to truly find enjoyment in anything. The fulfillment wells from within and spills over to produce these experiences, not the other way around.
When we embrace nourishing our spirits, minds, and bodies, we tend to the well. We fill the cup. And the cup spills to the saucer. That's where the fulfillment is found. Not in the experiences...but from within.
Are we arriving to write or be creative on an empty cup? Are we burnt out and exhausted, putting our craft on an unattainable pedestal, putting huge amounts of pressure on it to make us happy? Or are we coming to the creative experience with a sense of joy already established?
And so that's why rock climbing is officially part of my "writing routine" - it's part of my creative flow. And surfing and hiking and kayaking and backpacking and time for spiritual seeking, and time with family, all of these things are what stir joy inside of me and guide me on the path.
Never belittle the need to be nourished, to fill your cup, never put it off...it's what truly fuels everything that you do.
NOW TELL ME...what did YOU do this weekend? Did anything bring you JOY? What's had your heart humming lately? I would love it if you commented below and shared your own journey🙏🌿