The hardest part of any creative endeavor is the amount of energy it takes, especially when it comes to something as complex as a story. This is especially true for longer or multiple works. Keeping the threads of of the plot, character and even setting from getting tangled require a lot of attention and focus and that’s not always easy to do on something intangible. Eventually it can lead to a burnt-out feeling, a lack of motivation or just plain loss of energy.
The question comes down to how do we refuel when our creative tanks are empty?
Much like when seeking inspiration, some of the best places to find creative energy can be found well away from the stories we’re trying to tell. In other words take a break. Forcing yourself to work on the story when you’re not feeling the passion won’t help, and can actually hurt a lot more than you might realize.
Try taking a couple of days away from the story and from writing. Pick up your favorite book, or whatever story inspired you to start writing in the first place to help remind you why you wanted to write. Go ahead and binge that show you’ve really enjoyed. Take a sometime and treat yourself to some games or a b-movie marathon.
Another important thing to remember about refueling is that this is an important and essential time to make sure you and your space are taken care of. Don’t forget to make sure you’re eating properly–especially if you’ve just gotten a huge amount of writing done or come out of an event like NaNoWriMo or a writing retreat. This is a prime opportunity to treat yourself to something healthy to help reward yourself for putting in the effort to create something.
Coming off the self-care idea is also a reminder to go ahead and take the time to clean your space. Go ahead and pull your desk away from the wall and vacuum behind it (or sweep and mop if you’re on hard flooring) as well as wipe down and polish any hard surfaces you work on. If there’s any projects such as repainting or reorganizing the room, now’s a good time to get those done! While it might seem unpleasant, refreshing your work area can help reinvigorate you and replenish your energy.
After you’ve taken a couple of days away from the story to relax, don’t jump right back into writing. Instead, try going over your notes first, to find things you liked and loved about the story, and to help kick start ideas that have been percolating in your subconscious. Don’t forget to look over anything that inspired the story in the first place! Part of refueling means re-inspiring.