I’ve Been in a Creative Block for Over a Year and That’s Okay

Embracing the wintering of my soul

Jenna Goldsmith

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Photo by Adam Chang on Unsplash

I wanted to write an article about how I’ve been struggling to write and the cyclical nature of creativity and the cycles of nature — hence, the title — but I found myself stuck on where to even begin.

This is a perfect example of how I’ve been feeling for over a year.

I recently read a book, Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May, and it really stuck with me. While Katherine May’s personal difficulties are quite different than my own, there’s something very universal about struggles that leave us feeling defeated and drained.

In the book, May moves through struggles in her life and health and details her exploration into healing via leaning into the idea of “wintering” rather than fighting it.

The cycle of life reflects the seasonal cycle of nature, yet when things get tough or when winter sets in human beings are more apt to fight against it than to settle in and ride it out. We spend our cold dark winters (at least in the northern part of the world) waiting for spring and attempting to stay just as active and just as productive in ways we are in warmer months. The natural world prepares and settles for the winter months, but we tend to act as if nothing has changed.

And when we find ourselves struggling either externally or internally, humans again want to fight against our feelings of grief or sorrow and pretend that everything is fine — when it is indeed not fine.

Personally, I’ve been in my own creative winter since the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. It’s no coincidence that it coincides with the ongoing pandemic. Once the novelty of being in a pandemic wore off and the anxiety continued to wash over me like a river instead of ebbing like an ocean, I became blocked. My motivation tanked.

Suddenly, my passion for my novel was gone, even though I was powering through exciting rewrites. I didn’t feel much like painting, either, even though I also love painting.

The natural world lost most of its magic and I felt disconnected from it most of the time. This hurt me especially since I’d spent much of the last couple…

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