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how to embrace your creative seasons as a writer or artist

How to Embrace Your Creative Seasons

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The Fall of Summer:

Digging Into Your Creative Seasons

Friends! As I’m writing this, the cool air is whipping in through the windows and I’ve got my favorite gray sweater wrapped around my shoulders. I don’t know about you, but where I am, we’ve officially reached the point of the year where summer and autumn begin to duke it out. Summer puts up a good fight, and we still have those hot and hazy days that make me contemplate moving to Iceland. But I know the truth now, after seeing this conflict play out for so many years: autumn always wins.

It doesn’t matter how valiant the effort, the neon world of summer flowers and oppressive heat always shifts. The cold always comes. The trees give one last firework of color – they’ve been saving this up for the entire year, after all – and the gray chill of fall takes over. Then the restoration begins. 

Call me crazy, but the day I open the door to that first chill in the air is one of the happiest days of the year for me.  

As someone who’s been doing this writing gig for years now (more than a decade, somehow?!), I’ve come to notice the predictability to my seasons, as well. I make no secret that summer is the hardest part of the year for me, and this goes for creativity, as well. Some thrive in such environments, with the explosions of nature and color and life all around. They can write or paint with the energy of the sun cheering them on.

Others though, (like me!) need the air to be cooler and the sky to be gentler. They want to create while life is winding down around them. The crunch of leaves that will soon be on the ground as I walk serves always serves as a reminder for all the paper I’ll be filling over the next few months.

No matter how I try to force myself into another state of productivity, autumn has always been the time of year that most of my big projects find their footing. This doesn’t mean I don’t work throughout the year – I am nothing if not a lover of deadlines! But it does mean I need to allow myself extra space as autumn arrives, because I know the real work is about to begin. 

So now it’s your turn. Grab a notebook (I know you’ve got several sitting by you right now), and jot down some answers to these questions:

  • What are my creative seasons? How and where do I work best? Have I accepted them? Or am I trying to force myself to be something I’m not? 
  • Do I give myself space to be myself as I create? There’s a difference between working hard and working against yourself, remember!
  • Do I compare my seasons to those of other creatives? Do I use these differences as weapons against myself, rather than evidence of my own individual needs? (For example, I used to feel like an oddball for finding summer such a difficult time creatively: it’s meant to embody thriving life, right?! Once I accepted my own seasons, I knew that I can accomplish twice as much in fall as I would have in summer, so why bother worrying?)
  • How can I support myself right now through this creative season I’m in? What might that look like?

And the most important question of all:

  • Am I giving myself permission to be where I’m at, no matter the season? 

That last one’s a doozy, isn’t it? 

Whether you’re feeling creatively full or absolutely empty, I hope these questions are a nice reminder to you to love yourself on the journey. It’s always changing, but your own self worth doesn’t need to. 

Good luck with rest of September! 

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