Ditch the New Year’s Resolutions, Create and Be Happy Instead!

Happy New Year!

I just googled ‘New Year’s Resolutions’ and, of course, was immediately bombarded with adverts for ‘New Year, New You’, ‘Go on a diet and your life will be wonderful’ and the ‘Join a gym and you’ll be immediately more successful/attractive/superhuman’ nonsense that exists in cyberspace.

Interestingly, it appears that people are getting wiser to the shame and guilt based advertising so diet companies are frenziedly re-branding. Don’t believe the hype eh?

In this first week of A Year of Living Creatively, you will be relieved to find out that the plan for this week is not to give up anything. That’s right. No giving up. No instant new you. No denial or self flagellation. January is already far too depressing as it is.

Instead, this week, I’m going to indulge. I’m going to binge on art. What does this mean? It means that between now (Monday) and next Sunday I’m going to binge on art, books, film and music in order to restock what Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way (Tarcher/Putnam 1992), calls the ‘well’.

‘In order to create, we draw from our inner well…If we don’t give some attention to upkeep, our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant or blocked.’ (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, 1992, p20)

If I’m honest, my well is running dangerously dry. There may even be a rusty supermarket trolley and a dead rat at the bottom. It needs some serious attention.

This week, I’m going to restock it via a massive art binge. In the past, when I’ve been writing fiction or music, I’ve found inspiration through other people’s art. Through the process of listening to music, flicking through a book or looking at art, feelings, memories and ideas are stirred. They’re not always instantly usable in their own right but safely harboured, the ideas simmer away until they can make connections with others in novel and unexpected ways. Then they can begin the process of taking on a new life of their own.

However, without the initial inspiration, the well will remain dry so here’s the plan…

  • Visit an art gallery (We’ve got the fabulous free Graves Gallery in Sheffield)

  • Listen to a new album (Remember mix-tapes? They were great for restocking the well. Bring them back! For now, iTunes, a good independent record store or a friend with a mean CD collection will have to suffice)

  • Pick up and thumb through a book that takes your fancy (I like to use non-fiction history, mythology, folklore, nature books for this. My whole novel ‘The Mermaid Pool’ started life years ago as a little snippet lodged in my brain after reading Wreckers by Bella Bathurst)

  • Watch or re-watch a film or drama.

Part way through the week, I’ll check back in and post about how I’m getting on. I’d love you to drop by and let me know what you’re up to too.

Until then, Happy Creative New Year!

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