As the days shorten and the nights seem unending, the urge to hibernate becomes overwhelming. After the holiday hangovers (from over-busy as well as over-indulging) comes the season of resolution making and renewal. This all hits at a time of cold, dark and often dreary, even here in my normally sunny Florida. So what can we do to keep the creative fires lit? Enjoy the season and lean into a time of slowing down.
Embrace the Inward Journey
Winter is a natural time for introspection. The quiet invites us to turn inward, to listen to the whispers of our soul. Curl up with your favorite mug and a journal or sketchbook, and let your thoughts flow freely. Jot down dreams, fears, fleeting ideas – anything that sparks a flicker of curiosity.
Think back over the past year to ideas not followed and projects not completed or even started. What creative things did you do that felt amazing and what frustrated or drained you? What felt like work versus play? This introspection can shed some light on what you want to explore in the upcoming year and what is time to leave behind.
Seek Inspiration in the Season
The stark beauty of winter offers a treasure trove of inspiration. Look in your yard or garden at the naked limbs of your plants. Note the subtle shades and colors, it’s not all the same gray or brown! What creatures still venture out during this time? Use your camera or sketchbook to capture the hushed, subtle lighting of the season. The seemingly ordinary can become extraordinary when viewed through the lens of creativity.
Make Your Own Light
Combat the darkness by infusing your space with warm light. String tiny lights across your desk, light scented candles, or invest in a reading lamp. I created a tray this year to hold the pieces of my morning routine. I added a candle and I light it when I’ve sat down with my coffee. I’m a morning person and sometimes this is the only light I have if I’m out on my porch before the sun comes up.
If you have a fireplace or a firepit, use the heat to warm you and the light to inspire you. Invite others to sit, turn off all things electronic and just enjoy an ancient ritual of community.
Connect With Others
Even though winter tends to drive us inwards, it can be a time for togetherness as well. Gather with fellow creatives, share ideas, and offer mutual encouragement. Participate in workshops or creative groups, either in person or virtually, or simply have a cozy coffee date with a fellow creative.
Winter doesn’t have to be dark and dreary to your creative process. You can use this season to explore your inner self and what the season offers. Sharing this with others fuels the creative flame even brighter.
- Challenge yourself with creative prompts: It might be too late to start an ‘Every day this year’ project but would you really finish it anyway? Try a short challenge, bonus if it’s in a new medium or genre.
- Complete a winter creativity project: Set a start and end date (maybe March 19, the official first day of spring for 2024) . Gather your supplies and set aside time each day to work on it. By the end of winter, you’ll have brought something new to life.
- Take a creative course: Learn a new skill or deepen your knowledge in your chosen field. Whether virtual or in-person, learning from someone else will push your own boundaries. If you choose to do this, you could create a project from what you are learning.
The most important thing is to have fun and enjoy the process. Let your creativity flow freely, embrace the magic of winter, and watch your inner artist blossom even in the darkest days.
Share some of your ideas for keeping your creativity lit in the dark of winter!