Why are writing highs followed by lows?

I don’t have an answer to the title’s question, so if you do, please enlighten me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. โค๏ธ)

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. ๐Ÿ˜

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 โ˜•


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. ๐Ÿคจ

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. ๐Ÿ˜”

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. ๐Ÿ˜›

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… ๐Ÿ˜€

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. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜ˆ

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.

49 thoughts on “Why are writing highs followed by lows?

  1. If you can think about it in the way that there are neither highs or lows, just your opinion of what is happening and constitutes a high/low. Everything that is written is in essence a collection of words that describe what is happening. Like if youโ€™re writing a novel and you want to set the scene, itโ€™s not going to be the action packed thrill of the last chapter. Itโ€™s just as important though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s an interesting perspective. Honestly, not writing is such a crucial part of writing, I see this now. It’s like the brain does all its processing when we don’t have fingers on the keyboard or pen in hand.

      Thank you for your contribution to this conversation. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Also, I think it is arguably the most subjective thing in the English language. If Iโ€™m reading the text you might have written, and I get the message, I hang up the phone. Iโ€™m not sure if I have to read anymore. Iโ€™m good and Iโ€™m following the narrative you have created. You are so specific on the audience you are going to get a response from. Thatโ€™s ok, you have no control over it. I canโ€™t abide Shakespeare or Books by Freud. However, I have read the Bible 3 times and I find it fascinating. Alan Wattsโ€™ publications have been a great opportunity for me to see the world differently. Books about the Madchester music scene by the people who were there, I have read multiple times. Yet a Stephen King horror story usually ends up buried in the sand with a made-up story about it being a cursed book ๐Ÿ“š

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I know exactly what you meanโ€ฆI have that happen all the timeโ€ฆI just take some time from writing for a whileโ€ฆthis seems to stimulate ideas for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The fluctuations are normal, I think. What we do when we hit the dry spell is where it gets interesting. I purge, or clean something, sometimes… lol

      And when I’m elbow-deep in bleach or suds, I suddenly thing of the most amazing story arch and then… by the time I get to my app… it’s gone. ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. You know, the market for porn featuring elderly women getting “special deliveries” from tattooed furniture truck drivers is really high right now. You should definitely pursue this.

    I don’t think you should ever try to force creativity. It’s like putting a square peg in a round hole.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well the delivery dude wasn’t tattooed, although I don’t really know that since typically The Brick tells their staff to stay dressed during deliveries… ๐Ÿ˜‚

      I got something going, although mostly not yet typed out in great detail. When it’s done you can buy my book. ๐Ÿ˜›


  4. I ride them out but I do so while allowing myself the grace to write poorly for a while. Only about 30% of what I write makes it to the blog, the rest I delete. I figure it’s all of the process, highs and lows.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think it’s the brain’s way of taking a nap. After all, the creative process is not just about having ideas and putting them on paper. If it was so easy, then anyone could do it. We demand an awful lot from our brains and it isn’t reasonable to expect 100% output all the time. On days when I can’t string a sentence together I spend time with my plants and my piano!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ugh, I’m still planning the sci fi opera but Subnautica (PC game) kept yanking me off into the blue unknown. That and we just got vaccinated. Anyway write when you can and when the motivation is there. I hate the advice “write everyday”. Well what if that’s not happening? Don’t stress you’ll get there and I hope to hear good things about the submissions. I need to get back in the groove. Even if it’s a no, it’s experience and it gets you writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I set myself a goal. It might be proofreading my work myself and then I let it lie still for awhile. I take care of daily business, keep exercising, driving relaxes me and frees my mind in the direction to go. We have company coming, so I know I won’t get to writing but that is okay. I am good with what I have accomplished so far this summer.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I don’t do any fiction writing. I’ve tried off and on, but my brain completely shuts down. I was good at “creative writing” in school too… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

    I would think that letting it rest, not stressing on it or trying to force it would be good. But I have no experience in this area, soooo… ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿผโ€โ™€๏ธ

    I am a firm believer in “things happen when it’s time for them to happen”. So enjoy people watching, and the beautiful surroundings.๐Ÿ’•

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I haven’t heard that, but it’s true. My non-fiction writing for a year was everything (maybe not EVERY thing๐Ÿ˜‰) said and done in front of me๐Ÿ˜‚

        I love watching people. I’m sure people get a laugh watching me out in public. I’m usually in a bubble of oblivion. I talk to myself, do little dance steps… all kinds of “weird” stuff๐Ÿ˜‚

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I have been on a low ebb from writing and painting and life too. One thing keeps bumping into my mind- it is the coffee!
    I did a bit of research about coffee – viewed videos of spiders spinning webs after being given various drugs and the webs produced while the spider was on coffee was not even a web.
    I also read that coffee shuts down your frontal cortex just like watching television. Zoned out effect.
    I love coffee and have not tried to give it up. I write this while I am having a cup of bulletproof coffee which has been blended with cinnamon, mct oil, whipping cream. Delicious.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love my morning coffee, typically two cups are enough for me though. In deep winter when it’s cold, I may have a third. Never past lunch though, I don’t like the taste then for some reason.

      I increase my water consumption when I drink coffee, which keeps my brain from feeling cloudy and gittery…๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  10. You nailed it. I do pretty much everything you noted here, and just hope some kind of creative juice will start trickling in at some point.
    Scrolling, snacking, and peeing are the only trickles currently kicking in though…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol

      That was me for two days. ๐Ÿ˜›โ˜•๐Ÿšป

      But yes, in all seriousness, the neighborhood drama with the men did ignite some things, I just don’t know if it’s enough to spin into something worthwhile…

      Like I said, stay tuned. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  11. I dont know but if you figure it out please do a post on it, lol. How do I deal with creative dry spells? Honestly, and this isnt very flattering but I look at other creators and try and emulate/mine their creative spurts for something that might give me a spark. I dont mean copy pasting or stealing ideas but, something anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely reading other blogs, social media, books, articles influence us. This is why I have so many started stories in my draft folder… I read others to help whet my appetite. Sometimes a good disconnect helps, too. Or go out and experience something.

      For me it’s going someplace to watch people. Doesn’t always result in a creative output immediately, but I file it away in the hopes things will get my butt in gear. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  12. Arenโ€™t we often like that in everything? We get a win, and itโ€™s almost like we are afraid of successโ€ฆwe donโ€™t believe we are worthy of the good fortuneโ€ฆthat the good fortune was a flukeโ€ฆ

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, for me it’s in the shower. I often think I should have a voice-activated app going while I’m shampooing my hair so I can talk to my phone and freak out the rest of the household when they hear voices coming from the bathroom… ๐Ÿ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

Share your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.