Filling Your Creative Well

As a burned-out urban designer back in the 90s, I learned the hard way about the toll endless hours of work, constant deadlines, painful creative wounds, and unaddressed self-doubts can have on your level of creative inspiration.

Since then I’ve aimed to keep myself a tad more in balance.

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve learned from Julia Cameron, author of The Artist’s Way, to aim to fill my “creative well” to overflowing, but I’ve never fully embraced the concept of artist dates.

Cultivating A High Quality Diet

Todd Henry, the author of The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice suggests that having a carefully cultivated diet of high quality “stimuli” (the information we feed our brains) can give us a head start when it comes to solving our creative dilemmas in advance.

He suggests taking these three factors into consideration when selecting your stimuli diet:

  1. Challenge yourself: “Commune with great minds and experience mind-stretching concepts and ideas that challenge [your] existing view of the world.” I love TED talks for this purpose.
  2. Choose wisely: Select sources that both push your own personal growth and that are topically appropriate to the creative project you are currently working on.
  3. Diversify: Bring in a mix of varied media and topics to help you think creatively and in new ways. Andrea Lee, in Jennifer Lee’s Right Brain Business Plan Video Summit (more here), gave some brilliant examples of her varied diet of reading that includes game design, acting, and history.

Putting It Into Practice

I’ve naturally been tackling factor #2: I’ve been reading sci fi scripts from favorite shows for inspiration for my screenwriting project.

For #1 & #3, I recently attended a local screening of Connected the Film by filmmaker Tiffany Shlain (interview here), which was hugely inspiring for me, primarily because it had me expanding my thinking into new deeper meanings I want to bring to my work.

And Voilà, An Artist Date!

Somewhat hilariously, I realized I had unintentionally taken myself on an artist date after all.

As an aspiring screenwriter and film maker, I was visually entertained and my right brain was seeing all the amazing patterns and connections, and my intellectual left brain was thrilled by the ideas and concepts being bandied about.

Your Turn

  • How do you love to fill your creative well? 
  • What keeps you inspired?
  • What kinds of stimuli are making it past your gatekeeper, and are they high quality?

I’d love to hear from you.




Coming Attractions

~> October 4th – CORRECTED DATE — The next session of my Writer’s Circle accountability system starts. Have a novel you want to write? A book burning inside you that HAS to come out? Poems, songs, stories, and scripts that need to make their way to the page and into the world? Join the next round of my Writer’s Circle and see your words flow onto the page. Stay tuned for details about how you can participate.

~> November 10th. My next Life Purpose Breakthrough ‘Big Vision’ Group. Details. Only 3 spots remaining.


~> Next Tuesday. Right Brain Business Planning with my buddy Kris Carey. We’re closing in on completion!

~> THIS Weekend. Starting the ProSeries class at ScreenwritingU. Yeah, I’m excited and terrified all at once. :)

~> FRIDAYS & now morning times too. Sacred writing time. The Do Not Disturb sign is up.


  1. Voila is a beautiful French word!

    I challenge myself through a metaphysics group I belong to and through deep conversations with my little brother! We each have a slightly different take on the world but it keeps me learning and keeps my mind wide open.
    I choose wisely by avoiding tv, news or internet hype that seems icky to me and seeking out sources of information that are enlightening, uplifting and challenging.
    As a “scanner” (according to Barbara Sher in “Refuse to Choose”), my interests are naturally diverse so I can’t help myself!

    This is a great post because it caused me to evaluate what I do and to feel validated. Good for me! XOXO

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