In that feedback you guys gave me two weeks ago, I got some pretty great comments. This was one of them:
...Elaborate on the "floundering"--we all relate to being in a slump! Great seeing you on FB again!
Floundering. Ugh. Isn't it the worst? And we all do it, but even knowing that doesn't totally help when it's happening to you. So, yes, definitely, I've been floundering. I'm pretty sure I spent all of last year taking in opinions from everyone I spoke to, strangers included, about what I should be doing and heard everything from 'How are you going to monetize?' to 'How long are you going to keep this up?' to 'Maybe you should start to focus on something outside the arts for a while'. And while all of these were meant to help, they really led to a lot of self-doubt and confusion. Because, peeps, I had no idea what the heck I was doing. All the photo taking took me away from the actual 'writing' part of things, and, while it was so much fun and led to so many fun things, well, I was floundering.
So since I'm a bit of a 'floundering expert' at this point, I thought I'd let you know what helps me gain some traction when I'm feeling off-course. It's FILLING THE WELL, a term Julia Cameron used in The Artist's Way. Just taking a break from creating 'output' and soaking up some good stuff can seriously help a slump. Here are some of my tried and true well fillers...
Brian Johnson's Philosopher Notes. HOLY COW. I get these delivered to my inbox every day. No really...he is unbelievable. Brian basically reads a self-help or philosophical or even practical text, and then delivers a summary of them chock full of knowledge and inspiration. Love them.
Steven Pressler's The War of Art. I have read this and recommended it so many times that I can't believe it's still relevant for me. But it is. The best part is that you can pick up any section and just read it and be done with it if you want. If you get a copy, keep it forever.
Good music. Sometimes I forget to even turn music on, and when I do, I'm always shocked by how much it makes me feel better. Or for that matter, worse. Depending upon the song. I just finished reading 'Imagine Me Gone' by Adam Haslett, and among other takeaways, I was totally inspired to really dig into my husband's record collection. So this week, I've spent some time listening to Dave Brubeck and Otis Redding, but my favorite has to be this local band, The Bastard Sons of Captain Mey. LISTEN!!!! (They are so good...you are really going to thank me!)
Lucky Star Art Camp. I know. You're going to look and say 'it seems kind of expensive'. It is! But it is TOTALLY worth it. Four days of creative care surrounded by art-loving, music-making, totally inspirational women and I'm telling you...well filled for months.
Guilty pleasures...Chocolate. Wine. A good craft beer or mug of tea. A nap. The Walking Dead. Sometimes those little bits of time are all you get in a day. Make them count.
If any of you out there are floundering—c'mon, I can't be the only one, right??—I hope some of these help you too. I'm telling you...fill that well! It can't be said too many times!
Danielle Davies (@daniellendavies) is the creator of the internet sensation, My Life with Bradley Cooper, as well as a writer and artist living in New Jersey. Read more...
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