Thinkin’ About: Creative Exhaustion

So it’s been a little while.

When last I wrote, I was heading into the last week of July Camp NaNoWriMo. I did end up claiming my win, but by the end I was just… done. I put down the novel and I haven’t gone back to it since then. It’s been almost two months since I finished Camp NaNoWriMo and I still feel creatively exhausted, drained. The well is empty, or at least low.

This isn’t such a strange feeling. What’s strange—or at least unusual and perhaps a bit concerning—are the other feelings that come with that exhaustion.

I’ve been reading a lot while I haven’t been writing. Normally, reading would help. Reading other works usually makes me think, “I want to do something like this!” But these days I find myself thinking, “Well, I’ll never be able to do something as cool/well-written/complex/creative as that, so… is it worth it to even try?”

I worry that I’m not creative enough: my worlds will never be as detailed as other authors’, my characters will never be as complex as other authors’, my ideas aren’t “cool” like other authors’.

Intellectually I know not to make those comparisons. My drafts are drafts, the books I’m reading are finished products. If this were cake baking, it would be like comparing my bowl of dry ingredients with someone else’s finished confection, frosted and gorgeous. The two don’t compare. And the rest—the feelings of inadequacy, and the loss of confidence—is more of a reflection of my current state of mind and/or brain chemistry, than anything else. But knowing that and knowing that are often two different things.

I know that “this too shall pass,” I know that this isn’t forever—my brain will rest, the well will refill itself—but every day that I continue to feel like this makes me think, “This is it. That’s all there was. There is no more.”

It’s a question of balance, somehow, and I don’t think I’ve quite got the trick of it yet.

At the same time, NaNoWriMo is beginning to peek over the horizon, and I want to start something new. For now I’ve accepted that I’m not going to be working on ALA (as I’ve come to call my most recent WIP) for a little while. It needs a break, I need a break, breaks are good. But now I’m actively trying to get those creative juices flowing again… this time in another direction.

I’m starting with the big questions: What would I like to read? What would I like to write? What would excite me?

Here’s hoping that come November I’ll have something that I can be getting on with.


About Sky

I'm a: 20-something, fantasy writer, deep thought thinker, sometime knitter, bookstore browser, amateur cook, journaler, cat owner, cheap wine connoisseur, ancient and medieval history lover, occasional philosopher, avid reader, museum wanderer.
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1 Response to Thinkin’ About: Creative Exhaustion

  1. Pingback: NaNoWriMo 2019: 10-Day Progress | a beautiful fiction

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