Jessie: In New Hampshire where there is a fresh layer of snow blanketing the village

I don’t know about all of you but, from time to time, I feel a bit like my creative well is in danger of running dry. It has been a very productive year for me in my writing life and I have noticed that there is only so much dipping out I can do before I have to find ways to replenish my supply.

It has become a predictable ebb and flow of my work life and over time I have developed a strategy that seems to be the most efficient at getting those creative juices flowing once more. In a word, whimsy. Yes, Lord Peter will do for a start, but there are a bunch of other ways I have found to refresh my enthusiasm. There is just something about looking at life through a lighthearted lens that seems to bring everything back into alignment, at least for me. If you are feeling in need of some whimsy in your own life, maybe one of these will work for you too!

  • Looking online at images of sweaters for dogs
  • Visiting a hat shop and trying on everything that tickles my fancy
  • Making rainbow-inspired food like unicorn sushi
  • Trying out a new sort of art supplies like a box of metallic watercolor paints
  • Knitting something cheery and different like a pattern from Field Guide to Knitted Birds by Arne and Carlos.
  • Borrowing or purchasing a stack of books that are in a genre I don’t usually read or that simply strike me as fun
  • Viewing online webcams like the ones at the Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Putting less frequently played records on the turntable and turning up the volume
  • Listening to fun and creative podcasts like It’s a Wonderful Lie
  • Building online jigsaw puzzles

Readers, what feels like whimsy to you? Writers, how do you refill your creative well?

29 Thoughts

  1. I love the sound of the word whimsy and doing whimsical things. I’ll stop at a shop or farmers market I’ve never been to, spur-of-the-moment, and just enjoy being there. I admire your knitting talent!

  2. Making a small 7″x7″ or about that size collage and including upbeat quotes on it helps me be whimsical and reboot my creativity. A recent collage included the following quotes: “Some people are so much sunlight to the square inch.” Walt Whitman and “When you think a grateful thought, there is no room in your mind for anything else.” Anonymous

  3. For me, sometimes exercise helps, especially walking while listening to music. Sometimes writing something new—a short story or even a poem. Travel, even short, local explorations (like the artist dates Julia Cameron recommends). Or a lazy day spent doing whatever I want. And sometimes I accept I’m in a low time and slog away anyway, knowing it will pass. Creativity is weird like that.

  4. Love this, Jessie! I will have to look at the Monterey Bay Aquarium webcam. When we lived there we were members and got to go in early on weekend mornings. It was magical. I look at webcams of the beaches on the Florida Panhandle near where the Chloe Jackson books are set. And I also look at pictures of Westies on Instagram.

  5. I make the occasional quilt, and love going out to (or these days, watching at home) the movies to our small local art theater. But maybe I should take inspiration from Dru and clean my closet!

  6. When I feel in a rut or down, I love to grab my camera. You look at the world differently when you look through the lens of a camera. It’s amazing how much laughter can come by taking the time to watch the antics of God’s critters as they go through their normal life. It’s like people watching – what seems normal to them can be funny or enlightening to others. Blessed to live on a small acreage outside the city which means I can often do this at home. But it’s really fun to go to someplace new to see what all I can find from a small bug to a new bird or many a bear. I think when we need to refresh ourselves, we only need to open our eyes and be open to try to things to find it.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  7. I find outings to be particularly refreshing and inspiring, especially museums, historical sites and so on. Like Dru I find cleaning out closets, or any big home organizing task, to be a great way to recuperate from burnout, be it of the creative type or any other.

  8. I have never liked shopping, but there is a store in Intercourse, PA that has the most beautiful Amish-made items. I love to just walk around an look at it all. And, yes, sometimes I even buy something! And I love anything whimsical, so I am always up for serendipity to expose me to something new.

  9. A spurt of digital graphics seems like whimsy and invariably leads to more writing ideas. It’s hard for me to separate the two, like wet and water.

      1. With Canva Pro, it’s so easy. Within a couple of fun hours, put together and published on my site a book trailer video. What a joy seeing the story come to life. That’s fuel for more writing!

  10. Sitting on my deck watching the birds. We have 12 evergreen Christmas trees in our back yard and I love watching the birds in the trees. So relaxing!

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