Types of deserts you may experience

On of my favorite podcasts on the topic of writing is Novel Marketing. A recent episode involved an interview with Allen Arnold who was in the publishing business for twenty years but talks more like a person of the heart than of the bottom line. It’s a rare combo and what he shared was so good I want to share it with you.

How to Find an Inspiration Oasis in a Creativity Desert With Allen Arnold

Doesn’t that tug at something deep?

Though aimed at authors, any of us might find ourselves in a desert. My creativity may involve words and yours cooking or teaching or even spreadsheets. Part of the way we reflect God’s image is in our creativeness.


You may be in the desert of:

1. Lost Dreams. They said this isn’t related to success. You can experience lost dreams at any point in a creative journey. Dreams of how a relationship may look like, how hard or easy the fruition of the dream may be, how interested others may be in our dream can all be sources of loss.

2. Of Self. The desert of self involves thinking it is all up to ME. How hard you work or who you know is the only way your creative endeavor will succeed.

3. Of Striving. Related to, but different from the desert of self, this desert takes the life blood out of your work. That which gave you joy, no longer does.

I’m not in any of these deserts at the moment, but they are not unfamiliar territory and as I said, I image they are familiar to you too. Sometimes when we are in a desert, all we know is we feel dry and can’t figure out where to even start. May these simple phrases act as bread crumbs pointing you out of the desert. I don’t wish a desert on you, but I’m not naive enough to think one won’t come.

If you happen to be in a desert now, which one of these three resonates with you? What was the last desert you were in? Any types of deserts you’d add?

Photo credit David via Flickr


  1. The desert of striving for sure!

  2. The desert of lost dreams. I’m not sure how connected the people I care about are to what I’m doing. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand exactly what I am doing. It’s difficult to communicate a hazy dream to others.

    • Kristi, I can relate to this as well. I think when we are called into something that doesn’t fit into an easily understandable box like “engineer, lawyer, mother, teacher” it can be harder for people to know where to put it in their brains (the fancy word is they have no schema for it :)). I have found myself using many words but saying little when when something is hazy. I’m sorry that those you care about aren’t connecting with you on this level. It stinks to feel separate.

  3. I’m definitely in Lost Dreams and a little bit of Self. Thanks for this because it reminded me that I won’t be in the desert forever!
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