When Writing Looks Like Housework
Updated: Aug 1
I'm over at Stiletto Gang this week with a post called "An Hour in the Life of a Writer," a humorous look at how I've spent many a writing hour doing everything except writing. In fact, by the progress I sometimes make, or lack of it, you'd think I was an amateur. My creative wheels can spin relentlessly, powered by real desire to tell a story, yet I can stay stuck deep in the Sands of Dearth. It's easier to go do the laundry or play with the cat or nuke my coffee for the tenth time.
I write and edit all day long at the Day J.O.B. and in the evening and weekends on my novels. I know well the discipline and effort required to complete projects fast and on time. My paycheck depends on it. To write business articles, it's often just deciding on a topic and diving in. It's equivalent to readying on the start line, staring into the screen, and hearing the gunshot to GO! It's coaxing your brain to work through your fingers to craft a salient, succint article within 30 minutes so you can get on to the next one. You just do it.
But know-how doesn't, on its own, fill the creative tank from which fiction is fueled. When your logical left brain and your creative right brain are exhausted from tag-teaming eight hours of a data onslaught, the creative brain suffers a bit of a breakdown. You're walking around doing mundane or routine tasks in your off-time, while your creative brain has called in sick. She's been running the 100-mile marathon in Whitecollarville, and that bitch is not getting out of bed until she's good and recovered.
Yeah, information overload is a real thing, and sometimes your brain just needs a break from everything technology related. It's why they tell you to get off your keister and go walk, get fresh air, connect up with people, do fun things--exercise, for god's sake (I know, I didn't mean to bring that up). But the brain needs a vacation, too, despite all the "results by deadlines" that you demand of it.
So, what do you do to regenerate and refresh your brain so that it runs in peak condition when you need it to? I could use some ideas, because I'm fresh out, and laundry is looking more exciting by the minute.