GUEST BLOG: The Ebb and Flow of Creativity with G.R. LeBlanc

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Today it is my pleasure to have G.R. LeBlanc as my guest. Gisele and I met several years ago through Verla Kay’s Blueboards and subsequently became critique partners through an on-line critique group which she organized and moderated. Over the years she has donned many creative hats including that of children’s fiction writer, poet, novelist, and even editor. But what happens when you lose your creative passion? Get ready to be encouraged by Gisele’s wonderful insights into the cycle of creativity. Take it away, Gisele!

I’ve never been a very prolific writer and struggle with longer works–and I’ve come to accept that I probably always will. It is one of the reasons that I love writing haiku and short poetry so much. They allow me to easily finish a project and experience a sense of accomplishment.

When it comes to longer projects, I tend to get lost in the brainstorming part of it. The story and the characters draw me in but somewhere along the way the passion ebbs. And, for the longest time, I thought it meant there was something wrong with me.

Was I just not cut out to be a writer?

So I’ve cycled through many writing forms such as novels, different poetry forms, short stories, and picture books, hoping that I would find something that would take hold of me and not let go. But no matter what I try, somewhere down the line, I always end up losing focus and passion.

Of course, that could be a lack of discipline on my part, or self-doubt (something I struggle with); yet, I believe a huge part of it is simply the way my brain and creativity works.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that when my focus wanes it is my spirit letting me know that it and my creativity–I believe both are intrinsically intertwined–need a change of pace and scenery. Different senses need to be engaged so that the well can be replenished.

For me, there are many different things I turn to during these times such as knitting, birdwatching, reading oracle cards, spending time with family and friends, watching documentaries, reading books and magazines, doing yoga, and even just taking a stroll in nature.

Writing haiku has also become a wonderful way of centering myself because it forces me to slow down and notice what’s going on around me. It takes me out of my head and helps me connect to my spirit.

So now, when the tides ebb, instead of fighting it, I welcome it and happily let myself drift along, knowing that I will always be brought back to the shore, and knowing that there is an endless number of  treasures and ideas to be discovered along the way!

What about you? Does your creativity ebb and flow? And if it does, what activities help you recharge and reconnect? I’d love to hear all about it!

Poet G.R. LeBlancG.R. LeBlanc is a writer/haiku poet that lives in New Brunswick, Canada. She enjoys simple pleasures like spending quiet evenings at home with her family, reading, knitting, and bird watching.

Her fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for children has appeared in publications such as Wee Ones, Stories For Children, Beyond Centauri, and My Little Friend, and her haiku has been published in haiku journals around the world.

You can visit her blog Ebb and Flow @ http://grleblanc.blogspot.ca/

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31 thoughts on “GUEST BLOG: The Ebb and Flow of Creativity with G.R. LeBlanc

  1. What a wonderful post! I find it very comforting because I struggle with the same things. For me I think it’s because writing is hard work, and sometimes you need a break – like a walk in nature or doing something different to replenish the well as you say. I like your approach of doing all different kinds of writing, because I think that helps keep things fresh too. Thanks Laura and G.R. for a lovely, inspiring, Monday morning post 🙂

    • Hi, Susanna! I’m glad something in my words rang true for you. I think a lot of us assume that we are alone in these kinds of struggles–because like you said, writing is hard–and it always helps to know that others experience the same challenges. I know for one I am very grateful for the internet, and wonderful blogs like Laura’s. It makes this writing thing a lot less lonely, that is for sure! 🙂

  2. Laura, you won’t believe this…but Gisele was my editor! I wrote for her “Berry Blue Haiku” ezine a couple of years ago! HI, Gisele! Nice to be reconnected here. I love this sentence, “Different senses need to be engaged so that the well can be replenished.” For creativity, I like to go on a family outing to someplace new and experience something totally different OR hangout at a bookstore surrounded by new picture books. Anyway, what a surprise, the two of you know each other!

    • HI, Tina!!! *waves profusely* Talk about a small world, ay? I will be checking out your blog. I’m so happy to have a chance to reconnect with you! I do believe it’s the Ebb and Flow of life at work! lol!

      Oh, and yes, bookstores are a great place to hang out. That and libraries. Bring on the books! 😉

    • I think you’re right, Laura. When I’m on Facebook, I often notice writer friends commenting on each other’s posts and think, OH, I didn’t know they knew each other!

      Also, just wanted to thank you again for inviting me to your blog! I love having a chance to connect with people who share the same interests. 🙂

  3. Hi, Gisele! Wonderful post. I think it’s important not to fight with your own creative style. You have to do what feels right. I find that switching genres does wonders for my creative flow. Also, long runs. I used to do a lot of yoga too but haven’t in a while. Would love to get back to it. Happy writing!

    • Hi, Diana! Good to see you over here! And yes I agree, on doing what feels right. I think switching genres is a great idea, too! On the yoga, I’m doing it almost every day now, and I’ve noticed that I feel so much more at peace and focused when I do. It gives my days a nice kick-start. 🙂

      Happy writing to you, too!

  4. Thank you for this thoughtful post. I’ve learned not to fight my creative lulls. Yes, writing is a craft, and we can hone it without waiting for inspiration, yet my writing time is far less productive when I’m feeling drained or preoccupied. So I allow myself to indulge in some other form of art – to be the recipient, not the creator. I read or watch an episode of a favorite television show, or I organize family photos. Then when the itch to write returns, I’m usually able to write better material in less time than if I’d fought the need to refresh. So glad I’m not the only writer who deals with occasional dry spells!

    • Hi, Becky! I found myself nodding in agreement as I was reading your comment. 🙂 I especially loved what you said about being the recipient, not the creator. I think that is so true! Creativity is all about connecting to that divine source and allowing it to flow through us. Sometimes, I think we just need to get out of our own way…lol. Thanks again for your thoughts!

  5. Hi Laura and Gisele, This is a wonderful post, the kind that helps to really connect writers. I, too, have dry spells, and engage in other activities at those times, yet the computer beacons and I return with renewed energy.
    And Hi, Tina–here we are all together; and it’s nice to meet Susanna, Diana and Becky, too.

  6. Thank you! It’s nice to know that my critique group and I don’t need medication! We are all picture book writers, except one. He writes YA. We are constantly amazed and we marvel at his ability to stay so focused on one project for SOOOO long, as we hop, skip, and jump all over with manuscript after manuscript. On days when I’m not feeling it to sit down and write, I spend my writing time at the bookstore reading picture books and drinking chai latte.

    • You’re welcome, Genevieve! I appreciate you sharing your thoughts, and I totally understand what you’re saying. I’ve been in many critique groups over the years and have also marvelled at how some writers can stay so focused. I know I need to work extra hard on staying focused and disciplined, but at least now I know that it’s not because there is something wrong with me–it’s just the way my creativity works! I sometimes wonder also if it has anything to do with being more of a left or right-brained writer.

      And, that’s the topic of another discussion! 😉

  7. Gisele, you really touched a chord, here. We can all relate to the ebb and flow of creativity and how nice it is that we can start this new writing year knowing that this cycle is normal and even necessary!

    • Laura, I have to admit, I did not expect so many writers to chime in and say that they go through the same thing as I do in regards to writing and creativity. Thank you again for the opportunity to discuss this issue, and good luck to everyone in all their creative projects! 🙂

  8. This is a great post, Gisele & Laura. I experience that feeling to. With me, I find that every time I finish something, especially if it’s something I like a lot, I have a panicky feeling that I’ll never write anything that good again. And for a while I really can’t. It does take some change of scene and recharging to feel refreshed and ready to try something new. I haven’t done yoga for a while, but that would definitely help, too. Good idea!

  9. Hi, Gisele and Laura! Great post. I find that if I alternate between fiction and nonfiction, both improve, and I have lots of fun. If I stick to either for too long, though, I get mired in muck. Apparently, variety truly is the spice of life!

  10. Hi, Carrie and Jody, and thanks for chiming in! I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s comments. May 2013 bring us all plenty of variety and creativity! Happy writing, everyone! 🙂

  11. Thanks to all of you for taking the time to pop by and reflect on how you handle creativity’s inevitable ebb and flow. And, a special thanks again, to Gisele for being such a delightful and insightful guest blogger!

    • Thank YOU, Laura, for inviting me to your blog. I’ve really enjoyed meeting everyone and learning how they handle their creative lulls. This has been a great discussion! 🙂

  12. Thanks for encouraging me G. R. by sharing how your creativity ebbs and flows. I struggle with this often. I go through dry spells where I can’t seem to make anything creative come. A friend of mine with young children paints several times a week. I asked her how she finds the time. She says I have to, as much as I have to drink and eat. Painting must come out of me. Eventually words just naturally emerge for me too, often at the oddest times – like late at night or during a meeting. If I immediately jot phrases and ideas down anywhere, like a napkin or on my hand, and use that to write as soon a possible, it’s often enough to get the dry well running again.

    • You’re so welcome, Deb. This entire discussion has helped me, too. I never realized that so many other writers also dealt with this feelings and challenges. And, I know what you mean about jotting down ideas when they come. If I don’t write them down right away, I often forget them, so now I always keep a small notepad in my purse. I’ve written a lot of haiku that way. 🙂

    • Hah…did not finish the thought. I try to write something everyday. A blog post, a journal entry, an idea. I find that my down times are in the late summer and fall with Spring being the big writing esp. For new picture books.

      • Your post, Deb, reminds me that besides creativity’s sort of tidal ebb and flow, I also find that I have seasons of writing that have nothing to do with creativity. Summer, for example, is a season with little writing time because I have my kids at home. It is however, a great opportunity to contemplate and fill the creative well and jot down ideas.

      • Hey, Deb! My downtime is definitely during the summer. But like Laura stated, it’s a great time to refill that well! And, even though I may not write fiction or poetry every day, I am writing something! 🙂

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