I don’t have an answer to the title’s question, so if you do, please enlighten me. 😉
What I can do is describe what I go through during, and after, an intense period of creative output. For me, this is fiction writing.
I spent the entire week redeveloping two flash fiction stories and submitted them to a contest.
This took focus, determination and reflection to get them to feel right; then came the ardorous editing process followed by reading-out-loud to myself until I finally felt confident enough to send them to a few beta readers. (Thank you to those who have given me feedback on my audio files… Much appreciated. ❤️)
Immediately after I submitted the work, I was buzzing with a creative high. I felt I could do anything: write fresh stuff, tackle unfinished projects, edit almost complete manuscripts, dabble in the self-publishing platforms, research venues to submit work to for publishing…
I was pumped. I pulled up Evernote, ensured all my drafts were backed-up, made lists, jotted down fresh ideas and then…
I needed coffee. I can’t write without coffee, especially in the morning, can you?
I wandered into the kitchen and made myself a cup. But, I also felt a slight pang of hunger so I prepped a snack. I puttered and cleaned up a bit, then marched myself back to my desk, sat down, and placed my hands on the keyboard.
Nothing happened. 😐
After a while, I put my headset on and listened to some music. I switched my apps and read some blogs, answered or typed some comments, dabbled with a few ideas on what to blog about next, sorted some photos.
Finally, my brain zoomed in on one of my characters, so I went back to my app and searched up the story in which the character featured.
My hands were ready to type.
But I had to pee. Because ☕
I left my keyboard and did my business. While in the bathroom I played around with my hair, then brought my coffee cup to the kitchen, rinsed it, and realized it was coming up to lunch. I pondered the contents of the fridge yada yada… I never went back to the room. 🤨
I’ll let this story rattle around in my head, I thought and promised myself that after lunch, I would be ready to tackle my story.
After lunch, I sat back at my laptop and waited for inspiration to hit. I was attached to my character and really wanted to develop her further, make something happen, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
I kept jumping from her to other characters, but without targeted focus.
Instead, I figured I’ll re-read a different story to see if maybe a different set of characters, and plot, could get me back in the mood.
Nope. Wasn’t happening. 😔
I ended up sitting outside at my mom’s house with my phone reading random social media. Sooner or later, I knew it would hit me again, but right now, something was blocking me.
I am still riding this dry spell right now, two days later. I did end up writing a new short story into my phone but it’s not anywhere near ready for releasing on any public forum. The source of my inspiration came from watching the neighborhood drama, if you can believe that. 😛
Allow me to entertain you:
There was the guy across the street who clipped his hedge. It looked crooked. He was shirtless and covered in tattoos. There was the elderly woman whose son was trying to get his various boats out of her garage and I could hear them arguing. I also knew she would have, um, opinions about the crooked hedge next door. Next, there was a furniture truck with a delivery dude who arrived with a fridge for the now shirted tattoo guy… 😀
I typed up some notes and devised a naughty story involving some of these observed happenings. I can’t promise it’ll turn into anything so don’t hold your breath but…
Stay tuned. 😂😈
But in all seriousness, this lack of writing seems to be directly related to the high volume output from earlier this week. Like I’m coming down from an extreme high and need time to decompress and recalibrate.
Perhaps I just need to focus on other things in the meantime, while my brain ‘rests’.
Tell me, how do you deal with your creative dry spells? Do you ride them out with confidence that your creativity will return? Or do you force it somehow?
See you in the comments.