It is so bitterly cold that the wine as well as the water freezes in the glasses at the King’s table.
~ Charlotte-Elisabeth, Duchesse D’Orleans (1695)
If you live in the northern regions of the US, you’ve watched the effects of extreme cold on lakes and ponds and rivers this winter. You may have watched sun-warmed snow melt and drip off roofs during the day, only to freeze into icicles once the sun goes down.
Liquid, flowing water becomes unmoving, solid ice. Your creativity can do the same.
And suddenly ideas and inspiration are dammed up like the water in frozen pipes. The faucet may me open but nothing is coming through.
So to get the water—and the ideas—flowing again, here are the three steps you need to take:
1. Turn on the heat. Don’t keep turning on the faucet expecting water to flow when the water is frozen. Instead, look for ways to warm the pipes. Everyone has their favorites. For me, reading a good book, watching a relaxing movie or television show, or baking up something delicious is usually enough to allow at least the first trickles of water through. For you, it might be a walk, time away from your studio or office to visit with friends, or ironing (besides the warmth, the repetition is often good for breaking things loose).
2. Check for leaks. Once ideas and inspiration are flowing again, make sure that you aren’t leaking creative energy. That is, are you giving too much time and attention to things like social media, other people’s needs, or not getting enough sleep and nutritious food? Creativity requires a lot of energy. A LOT. So be sure you are taking enough in and not giving it out indiscriminately.
3. When things get cold, leave the faucet open, even a little bit. If we had known how cold it was going to get the other night, we would have left the taps open just enough for a steady drip to keep the water moving. By the same token, when you know that you’ll be away from your work for any period of time, especially when you are in the middle of a project, find a way to allow at least a steady drip. 100 words a day, ideas jotted in a notebook or on your cell phone, color sketches or photos that capture a feeling, or the next five bars of a piece. Just keep the tap open even a little and it will make a difference.
It’s no fun when the pipes freeze, creatively or otherwise. But if you live in a place where the temps plunge into the minus area, it’s bound to happen. And if you create, no matter where you live, it’s almost certain to happen.
Don’t panic. Sooner or later that ice will thaw. But if you want it to happen sooner rather than later, then try the steps above.
And stay warm.
And if you need help with those leaking pipes or getting things moving again, call a creativity plumber, like me. Try my 2-hour brainstorming session ($197) using the tarot and my years of writing and publishing experience to get your creativity and writing flowing again. Email me at email@example.com.