The Seasons of the Creative Process

I’ve said for years there are few things I trust more than the creative process. The sun rises, the sun sets, the tides go in and out, and the creative process ebbs and flows…and ebbs and flows again.

I share this now, at the dawn of spring, because it can be tempting to take a snapshot of the creative process rather than seeing it as a continuum. When we are deep in winter here in Colorado, I take solace knowing that the Earth inevitably turns, and winter will soon be followed by spring. And conversely, when I am deep in the luxury of summer, I try to remember that it, too, will not last. 

It can be helpful, if you plan to have a long, creative life, to view your process like this. To roll with the changing seasons of our art. Periods of furious creation are followed by a slowing down as we recuperate. And those fallow periods are followed by new sparks and new creative discoveries…if we remain patient and trust the process. The key in any season is to embrace that cycles come and go. When we are in the creative mania stages, it can be hard to remember winter is coming. And when we are fallow, we may not recognize the new seeds germinating.

The more times you go through this process, the more you will start to trust that every season will retreat…and eventually return.

This cyclical nature is especially important when you are feeling creative FOMO (fear of missing out) or artistic jealousy. Your creativity is turning, always, but so is everyone else’s…on different cycles. Someone might be doing a lot of publishing outwardly, but behind the scenes they’re fallow. Someone else may feel insecure that they haven’t published lately, but they’re writing a masterpiece behind the scenes. 

Bottom line: It’s counterproductive to compare July to January. Instead, wherever you are in your creative process, remember you are turning and spinning, facing and retreating from the sun over and over. 

If you wait long enough, it will always be summer. 

To your beautiful, flowering creativity,



P.S. Speaking of seasons…are you ready for a flash fiction retreat in Iceland’s darkness? Early access to registration opens tomorrow!

The Green-Eyed Monster: Jealousy in the Time of Quarantine: Nancy Stohlman guests on Jane Friedman

Read full article on Jane

An excerpt:

One good thing about a year’s worth of quarantine? A lot less FOMO. We’re less afraid of missing out because everyone is missing out. We aren’t worried about being left off the guest list because there is no guest list. And for many of us who were trying to be everything to everyone, this has been a huge relief.

But…now that our attention and focus has been narrowed even more tightly to the screen, we might be noticing a different kind of FOMO creeping up. We’re maybe noticing there are other writers doing a lot during quarantine: publishing or producing with a seemingly endless supply of creative juice, while the project you were working on was cancelled, or postponed, or just feels irrelevant now in this plague world. Maybe all your writer friends seem inspired and you’re stuck. And you feel that nasty green-eyed monster putting his hand on his hips again.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that, despite our very best efforts, artistic jealousy affects us all at one time or another. If you’ve never felt the green monster, then you’re a better person than me. Mind you, I genuinely like my colleagues and I want them all to succeed. Most days I subscribe to the “we all win when we all win” mentality, and I truly believe it’s the only way to have a long, rewarding artistic life.

But… no matter who you are, there is probably somebody out there who is kicking more butt than you, and it seems to be happening effortlessly.

What to do about it???


Sabotage Reviews: Neil Campbell’s Insightful Review of “Going Short”

An excerpt:

Read the entire review at Sabotage Reviews

This book could become the definitive introduction to the form. It’s admirably lean and devoid of ego.

“This is also a good book for creative writing courses and, even better, a book for that old fashioned entity, the solitary writer, the one excluded from academia by not having thousands of pounds.

You could read this book in an hour and go back to it for years. And there’s a hundred prompts at the back for those of you feigning ‘writer’s block’.”


Join Me This Weekend: Readings and Readings and Workshops, oh my!

Need something to do this weekend? Next week? I’m going to be part of three virtual events and I’d love to see you at any of them!

Friday March 5th: Fbomb NYC Reading, 6-9 pm EST

Fbomb NYC: Friday, March 5 KGB Zoom FBomb reading Mar 5th 6pm est – 9 pm est. 


  1. Roberta Beary
  2. Andrea Marusco
  3. Nancy Ludmerer
  4. Jayne Martin
  5. Nancy Stohlman
  6. Kathy Fish
  7. Susan Weiman
  8. Hank Paper
  9. Linda Woolford
  10. Sally Reno
  11. Paul Beckman
  12. Cindy Rosmus

Contact Paul Beckman for Zoom link at:


Friday, March 5th: Bending Genres Reading @ SMOL Book Fair, 9 pm EST

More about Book Fair here

March 5, Friday, tomorrow, at 9pm EST.
Featuring: DOMINIQUE CHRISTINA! 💜💚❤️💚❤️💜
Also reading are:


More info here:

Reading Schedule


March 9-13, Writer’s Studio Literary Festival at Arapahoe Community College

More info here

For $50 (lots of discounts available too), you have access to SIX instructional workshops, and four different readings, all virtual, so you can attend from anywhere. As a bonus, when you sign up, you will get a copy of the Progenitor Vol 55 mailed to you (the one published during the onset of the pandemic–it’s very good!).

AGAIN: NEXT WEEK March 9th through the 13th Please consider registering!…/writers-studio-literary…Featuring: Hillary Leftwich, Nancy Stohlman, David R Slayton and others. That’s three sessions you’ll love right there: Fantasy Writing, Flash Fiction Writing, and Writing About Your Ghosts


Hope to see you soon at a virtual writing event soon!

xoxo Nancy