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Blog Briefs: On Burnout, with Andrew Macrae


In which a bunch of authors & editors are invited to answer the question: How do you deal with creative exhaustion?

Andy Macrae wrote a particular story – a very particular story! – some years ago that has stuck in my head. It was powerful and original, and I’m pleased as all get-out to hear it’s a novel.

This is what works for me: I practise crop rotation with my creative endeavours. I’ve found that when the nitrogen runs out in the soil in one field, it’s best to leave it fallow for a while and cultivate another. If the writing just isn’t happening, there’s sure to be some music going on in my head. By the time I’ve exhausted that, the novel project will be nagging at me again. Or if not, then maybe it’s time to do some photography or build scale model kits of giant robots. I try not to beat myself up about this. The main thing I’ve learned is consistent effort over a long period of time adds up. Also: those golden nuggets of freshly picked home-grown words are sweet and juicy.

– Andrew Macrae is a Melbourne-based word gardener and freelance copy wrangler who has recently finished a PhD in creative writing. He plays guitar in The Television Sky. Find him on Twitter: @acidic