In which a bunch of authors & editors are invited to answer the question: How do you deal with creative exhaustion?
I’m a martial arts instructor as well as a writer and the paralells between Kung Fu and the craft of writing are legion. Both take a lot of discipline and a constant desire to improve, for example. When it comes to creative exhaustion, another similarity is clear to me. Something I regularly reiterate to my students is that while training hard and regularly, good nutrition and enough sleep are essential to becoming a good martial artist, just as important is rest. And not just a day off here and there, but occasional breaks of a week or more where you let your body and mind recover. Invariably a student returns to training reinvigorated and able to learn much more quickly. The same applies to writing – while we’re always told to write every day and always be on, that’s only true to a certain extent. It’s okay to rest. It’s okay to take time away from writing – have a holiday, forget about the novel or the next short story or play, enjoy yourself and let your brain and your motivation recharge. You’ll come back to it with gusto and the words will fly and feel fresher than ever. At least, that’s how it works for me!
Alan Baxter is a dark fantasy, sci-fi and horror novelist and short story writer, who can be found online at www.alanbaxteronline.com