Because we are creatures of our society which prizes productivity so highly, we can come to judge ourselves by measuring our output and expecting that output to be consistent and constant. Such self judgement does not acknowledge the rhythm of the creative life.
There are times when we draw from the well and there are times when we must refill the well.
There are natural rhythms to creativity. Periods of flourish follow periods of incubation, and sometimes one must rest to allow the creative energies to resurge. We must go where we find delight and drink it into our souls, refreshing ourselves.
I first learned of the concept of filling the well in Julia Cameron's book, “The Artist's Way” a book that outlines a program to overcome creative blocks.
" Art is an image-using system. In order to create, we draw from our inner well. This inner well, an artistic reservoir, is ideally like a well-stocked trout pond. We’ve got big fish, little fish, fat fish, skinny fish – an abundance of artistic fish to fry. As artists, we must realize that we have to maintain this artistic ecosystem.
If we don’t give some attention to upkeep, our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant, or blocked.
Any extended period of piece of work draws heavily on our artistic well...
As artists we must learn to be self-nourishing. We must become alert enough to consciously replenish our creative resources as we draw on them – to restock the trout pond, so to speak. I call this process filling the well.
Filling the well involves the active pursuit of images to refresh our artistic reservoirs. "
Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity
Many times when I would sketch outdoors, I was dissatisfied with the product, the judgmental voices that are poison for an artist would begin.
Once I had a camera on my phone I gave up sketching as note taking, substituting the quick snap shot.
There is a benefit to this practice, see all the pretty images displayed here?
“Art is born in attention.”
― Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity