Replenishing My Inner Well

In 1992, I picked up a copy of The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. Hoping to inspire and motivate myself to write, I spent an entire weekend devouring the book and then decided to incorporate morning pages and artist dates into my life.

That enthusiasm fizzled after only one week.

At the time, I was in the thick of my career and personal life. Busy with course preps, curriculum meetings, extra-curricular activities, and family health issues, I found myself unable to even consider adding one more activity to my schedule.

Fast forward to 2008.

I retired and started to write non-fiction, following the dictates of my well-honed left brain (I’m a math teacher). Over 500 of my articles and book reviews appeared in online and print publications. Later, I turned to fiction, making reinvention a central theme in my five novels.

In spite of this productivity, I have experienced several bouts of writer’s block during these eleven years of life on golden pond.

To jumpstart my creativity during one prolonged hiatus, I revisited The Artist’s Way. To my delight and surprise, I was able to incorporate Julia’s suggestions into my daily regimen and have maintained the momentum for the past five years.

I started with morning pages… “three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness.” Some days, I would go beyond three pages, other days I barely got one page done. But I didn’t fret about those details. Instead, I kept Julia’s advice in mind: “There is no wrong way to do morning pages.”

Artist dates—setting aside two hours weekly for a solo activity that adds to my creative consciousness—were more challenging. While many of Julia’s suggestions—take a long walk, visit an artist supply’s shop, go cloud watching, fly a kite—sounded easy and doable, I knew that I needed more stimulating activities.

I started reading notices on bulletin boards and the Events sections of local papers, searching for “Artist Date” activities. I found myself attracted to arts and crafts shows within a 60-mile radius. I enjoy meeting the artisans and admiring their handiwork. One of my favorites is Fair November, a local fair showcasing the traditional and modern handmade crafts of over 80 artisans. I blog about these adventures here.

While I haven’t follow all of Julia’s rules—not such a bad thing—I have reaped the benefits of those artist dates. By immersing myself in new and different situations, I am able to replenish my inner well and fire up my imagination. In my morning pages, I continue to vent and experiment with ideas for articles, short stories, and future series.

How do you replenish your inner well?


Where to find Joanne Guidoccio…

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About Joanne Guidoccio

In 2008, Joanne retired from a 31-year teaching career and launched a second act that tapped into her creative side. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes paranormal romance, cozy mysteries, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
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12 Responses to Replenishing My Inner Well

  1. tidalscribe says:

    I love gardening and knitting/crocheting, totally different activites from each other and from writing, but both involve colour, pattern and design. But how I wish I could fill a canvas with colour or create an outdoor installation. Just going to a gallery of any sort makes me feel creative though, replenishing my inner well.

  2. Thank you for this inspiring post. I haven’t written a book, nor can I call myself a writer. I have little blog, where i share thoughts. One day i would like to write a book.

    How do i replenish my inner well? Reading blog posts like yours, enjoying doing mundane chores well, meditation, spiritual talks, teaching and working on myself to become a better person.

  3. Ps love this post of yours, it inspired me

  4. sueberger3 says:

    My sister and I were given a copy of the artists way in 1992, very challenging year for both of us. I did morning pages for 15 years. And I must say I found them incredibly helpful. Now I’m not doing morning pages and I think maybe before I start my next book I should start them again. Thank you for reminding me

    • You’re very welcome, Sue. Whenever I leave the pages for a while, I find myself missing them. I feel so much better when I resume the habit. It has become an essential component of my daily regimen. 🙂

  5. Thanks for sharing Joanne, I replenish when I sleep. LOL! That and a couple of writing conferences every year stirs the pot and soup is served.

  6. Shared and commented!

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