Tips to Help Writers Battle Creative Fatigue

by Edie Melson @EdieMelson

We all have times when the well of creativity runs dry. Maybe it’s from too many writing deadlines, a family crisis or holiday madness. Whatever it is, it can leave us sitting in a desert thirsting for ideas. I’ve learned that these dry times often come when I don’t the luxury of taking time to regroup and recover.

Here’s what I do to feed my creative spirit.

First, I do a little inventory and look at what’s on my schedule. I take a look at what I have to do no matter what, and at the things I just feel like I should do. There’s a difference, trust me. Now’s the time to let go of everything that isn’t absolutely necessary.

Then I acknowledge that I’m dealing with some aspect of mental fatigue. My mind is like a muscle that’s been overworked. It needs time to recuperate. To give it the time it needs, I watch the clock while I’m working and taking frequent breaks during the day. I’ll use those breaks to wander around the yard with my camera, take lunch with a friend, or just sit and enjoy a TV show.

Next I take a look at my disrupted routine. Many of you know I keep a pretty regular schedule. I have to, I’m too easily distracted as it is. A schedule helps me focus and stay productive. But when life spirals out of control, my schedule can degenerate into doing nothing more than sitting in front of the computer for hours a day, seven days a week. No one can sustain that kind of workload for any length of time.

When that happens, I become very rigid with my schedule (including the break times). This helps me stay on track, even as I give myself time to recuperate. My writing time is be shorter and my breaks a little longer.

The fourth thing I address is the need to feed my creative spirit. I must rekindle that creativity that’s burned so low in my soul.

  • I spend more time reading—for pleasure. I may try a new author, or revisit an old favorite. I go where my whims lead me. NOTHING from my to-do reading list allowed!
  • I do some things that spark my creativity, like jewelry making or knitting. Something fun, but not something I do for money. Just opportunities that encourage my imagination to soar.
  • I go to the movies. This gives me the opportunity to immerse myself in worlds that other creative geniuses have imagined and most important, much-needed time with my husband and with friends.
  • Finally, I find a time for a short vacation. It may only be a one-day trip into the mountains or a local park, but my husband and I need the unplugged time with just each other as our focus.

In two weeks, I’ll share a follow-up post on what we can be storing in our writers vault to help us through those dry times.

In the meantime, I’d love to know how you battle creative fatigue. Be sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Edie Melson—author, blogger, speaker—has written numerous books, including her most recent fiction – Alone, and nonfiction – While My Child is Away. She’s also the military family blogger at Guideposts.org. Her popular blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and has just been named as one of the 2017 Writer’s Digest Top 101 Websites for Writers. She’s the director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and the Vice President of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association, as well as the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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2 thoughts on “Tips to Help Writers Battle Creative Fatigue

  1. One way I battle is sharing with my husband, “I need a break.” We make a date to jump in the truck. We ride to destinations unknown for the day. My camera and note taking support ride with us and we stop wherever inspiration strikes. I find the further away we drive from the fatigue, the clearer my thoughts become.