author C.C.Cole's blog

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

On Creative Shutdown

I’ve written about the challenges of motivation and writing, and the assistance “mental breaks” give us when we rest and play Angry Birds, but sooner or later, most writers encounter “writer’s block.”  It’s a good, common descriptive cliché, but I think of it more like a “Creative Shutdown.”

Be it work, personal issues, distractions of daily living, sometimes I find myself stuck in dry dock.  I’m not coming up with hot ideas for my next novel.  I can’t think of any clever tweets.  I can’t think of anything to share on Facebook other than being tired from work, and who wants to hear (read) people whining, especially people working during these times?  (Don’t get me wrong, I’m very grateful to be working).  I’ve seen “The Social Network” about a hundred times, and need to move on to another film obsession.   For those that think I’m not so creative to start with, back atcha!!  (joke, please).

So, when creativity shuts down in my mind, I feel like a part of my electricity is off and I’m on reserve power.  As a writer, I’ve gained so much from creative outlets; so the gap is wide during shutdown.  Daily routine is not a problem, but the time I keep to myself, where I can identify, as my little niche I’ve carved out of the planet is absent. 

How do we new authors pull ourselves out of “Creative Shutdown?”  Answer:  1) time, 2) books.  After mentally sitting in the blackout zone for a couple of days, I found my creative instincts pulling me back to where I started:  books. 

I picked up my e-reader, opened it, and started reading a few pages.  Not pushing myself, I’d turn it off but keep it nearby.  Later on, I’d pick it up again.  After a few days, I’m almost back to my baseline, thinking about ways to move the plot in my next novel, and deciding which new awesome Indie writer to read/possibly review next. 

“Creative Shutdown” doesn’t need to be long term.  But sometimes an evening of Angry Birds doesn’t cut it, sometimes, we need more time.  It’s OK, fellow new authors.  If you need a break, take one.  In a weird way us newbies to the industry have the freedom to not need to write on demand.  That’s not always a bad thing.

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