I have been thinking about creativity lately. More specifically, on the well of creativity which exists in each of us, and what causes it to temporarily run dry at times.
Creativity can run dry on a given day. I have heard it said that each of us only has 3-4 hours of strong creativity each day. I tend to agree. Historically, I have done better if I focus on my writing in the morning and then shift to other tasks in the afternoon. By lunchtime, I don’t feel as if my mind is welling with ideas any longer. Since my allotment of creativity has run dry, it is better to shift to other duties in the afternoon. It is a good time to do more straightforward or “mindless” activities, such as research or promotion or even (sigh) paying bills. From what I have heard, many other romance writers take the same approach.
Creativity can also run dry for longer periods. All of us, at some point, go through a long drought where the urge to create is noticeably absent. For me, this is typically when I have other complicated or stressful events occurring in my life. In these situations, the dry spell usually lasts for much longer than a day -- sometimes for weeks or months. For example, I battled with this in recent weeks because all of the stress and decision-making associated with a remodeling project in our house was swamping my writing. And several years ago, I had a dry spell which lasted for two or three years while I was designing and then installing a large, complex IT system during my day job. That project took over my life and sucked up every ounce of creativity in me. I had nothing left for writing for a long time.
But like any drought, even creative ones end at some point. When I got past that large project a few years ago, it was like rain falling on arid ground, and the urge to write came back. And in my recent situation, just as a spring thaw melts the snow and encourages early flowers to bloom, mindfully making other distractions melt away allowed my writing to send up green shoots through the detritus which had piled up on it.
So if you are going through a dry spell, don’t despair. It will end someday and your well of creativity will start flowing once again. Just be ready for it when that gusher starts.
I write historical romances, and I invite you to share the journey to published author with me.