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Blog Briefs: On Burnout, with Jenny Blackford

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

Author Jenny Blackford studied the classics – as you’ll see from her current inspiration!

My creative work comes fairly directly from my unconscious mind, almost untouched by deliberate conscious thought, so when creative exhaustion strikes, writing is impossible. If the next word or sentence is lurking in my head but refusing to emerge through the keyboard, a non-verbal game usually helps to winkle it out; Tetris and Spider Solitaire are ideal. When the words need a bit more time to gel, weeding works well, and has the added benefit of being useful. (Housework is nowhere near as reliable.) Long-distance drives can be very therapeutic; sentences often congeal in my head when I’m staring at the white line, or the reliably flat scenery between Newcastle and Melbourne. And for serious cases of creative exhaustion, when the brain simply refuses to come up with anything for days (or weeks), reading masses of non-fiction usually does the trick.
Jenny’s current inspiration is Nilsson’s The Minoan-Mycenaean Religion and its Survival in Greek Religion.