Creative Fatigue

I played football, basketball, track, and baseball so I am no stranger to physical fatigue.  I have been forced to run until my legs felt like jelly, my sides burned like they were on fire,  and my previous meal exited my body the same way it had entered.  Now why am I telling you this wonderfully appetizing fact?  It is because I want to establish that I have experience in getting my butt kicked physically so when I tell you that mental & creative fatigue is worse, you will believe me.

My current job creates a lot of mental fatigue and at the end of the day I feel worthless.  When you are physically tired you can take a long bath, wrap up in a cool blanket, or sink deep into a fluffy bed to get comfort.  Not so much when you are mentally tired.  Having mental fatigue means that you are literally tired of thinking and that is not something you can easily take a break from especially if you have responsibilities.

With that said, creative fatigue is the absolute worse for me.  Whether reading, watching a movie/TV, or simply staring out a window the creative spark I have in my head keeps me going.  Even if I am not writing having that creative spark allows me to get inspiration from the most random things and I can file those ideas into my writing bank to withdraw the next time I get a chance to write.  Yet when I have creative fatigue that spark is gone and with it everything seems to take on a couple more shades of grey.  With that little bit of magic gone things don’t have the same impact and it is like sleepwalking.

I have been accused of much worse then being crazy so what do you all think?  Is it possible to have creative fatigue?  Have you had it?  And more importantly is there a way to re-energize or rest your creative mind without a long nights sleep?



Filed under Life, Writing

5 responses to “Creative Fatigue

  1. This is something I sometimes have to deal with. One day i went 15k words on my story’s ass within 16 hours. I couldn’t bring myself to focus the next day. Generally the way I get around this is by stimulating my mind in other ways. I will read or play video games (like portal 2) to get the ole noggin going. I relax and the juices break through the damn and move forward.
    Then sometimes I just force myself to write and after awhile it starts to flow out. It all depends.

    The one thing I get fatigued with that i cannot work around is talking.

  2. I feel your pain. When I have binge-writing days (like what Frank describes), I have to take frequent breaks to get up and move. It was easier when my dog was younger and I could take her for a walk around the block, but with the heat the old girl and I just go out in the backyard. So try movement, walk, run or something that will let you keep your head in the story.

  3. Don’t worry about it. Whatever comes out in your story is right. If there are no epiphanies on the first draft, you’ll get them the next time around. Even that lack of creativity adds flavor to the story. As writers, we’re always told to never follow a rule over a cliff. Well, ‘creativity’ is just another rule.

    As full disclosure, I’ve never published fiction, only eight non-fic, so I’m still testing the creativity thing.

  4. I’ve worked many jobs that required no mental strain whatsoever and even then at the end of the day I had something akin to the creative fatigue you describe. One suggestion is to change up your creative schedule–if you often write at night, try writing in the morning or vice versa. I used to do all of my writing before noon, but over the past few months switched to writing in the late afternoon or night and am producing much more than ever in the past. Example: I used to tell myself to write 250 words a day–I switched to nights and now I’m writing 600-1000 words.

  5. A silly suggestion of mine:

    Throw back a cup of coffee, wait 10-20 minutes, pace around, do a rendition of the Dos Equis “Most Interesting Man in the World” commercials, sit back down and muse on the random experience.

    Sometimes the weirdest acts rekindle a lost spark.

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