Yesterday after I finished the rough draft of a piece for the other (and still untitled) project I’ve been working on while letting Hero Stones sit after November. At that point I realized that while I wanted to keep working on something, I didn’t have any ideas or even the energy left to keep writing.
Although I’d felt burn out approaching when I made the decision to let Hero Stones rest for a while, I hadn’t quite realized that it was in fact total burn out. Oops.
The problem with any creative undertaking is that it does take time and energy, and the bigger the project or challenge, the more energy it takes. Although I’m lucky enough to have a fairly large capacity for creative energy, like anyone else I need to remember to take time and let my energy reserves recharge every now and again.
Rather than working on writing and focusing attention on that, it’s a good idea to turn attention to other things. This might be other creative endeavors or other hobbies. Perhaps it’s even indulging in a session of binge watching your favorite show.
Depending on you and your process, the best time for taking a rest will vary. When you’re first starting on your writing career you might find it difficult to keep your attention and energy up over the weeks and months it takes to finish a draft under normal circumstances. In that case, setting milestones (such as every so many chapters or pages or after plot points x then y and finally z,) for taking a day off from actively working on the story. As you build up the ‘creative stamina’ so to speak, you might find it better to take those rest days after you finish a fully draft.
Don’t let your rest periods go on for too long though–it can make it harder to get back into the story. Again, the exact amount that works best for you will vary. If you’re approaching full burn-out like I am, I’d recommend taking at least a day, if not two.
As for me, I’m planning on spending the rest of today with a sketchpad and probably working on some gifts for the holidays.