JJ Writes

Taking Breaks from Creativity

If you’ve been reading my blog lately you’ll know, because I’ve mentioned it a lot, that I’m currently editing a novel that I’ve written (and wow, editing is so much more work than writing). I’ve been editing it for a couple months now and its a full time thing. Getting my brain to focus and stay focused on one thing is a task in its self. I can do it but after a while my brain starts getting sluggish, and instead of being excited I get indifferent. It becomes a chore rather than a something exciting.

The point in this post is, after I finished my last round of edits I took a week off. A well deserved break where I didn’t even look at the thing. Nope, not allowed. I had life things I needed to catch up on after putting everything on hold to edit but otherwise it was a week off. No work allowed!

At the start of the week the sluggish feeling hung around, I didn’t want to do anything. There was no motivation to do anything creative. Reading was difficult, writing blog posts was too much effort, crochet was uninteresting, even my thoughts had stopped running. Nothing I wanted to look up or research. No random stories were playing in my head. Just cotton wool stuffed into every corner making my head feel stuffed.

I still did some stuff, read a little bit even if it wasn’t a lot, started crocheting a brainless scarf, caught up on reading all of your blog posts. (Apologies about being rubbish at commenting lately)

And then by about day 3 it was like my brain was tentatively asking if it was allowed to roam. Am I allowed to look this interesting fact up? Can I read another few chapters please. I WANT to do more crochet today. And that feeling built. I was allowed to do whatever I wanted rather than forcing myself to stick to one thing, and I was starting to actually want to do things again.

By the end of the week my brain was jumping around like a happy new born goat. Shouting I’m freeeeeeeeeee.

In the end I read a book, came up with a new series of blog posts, had a new full idea for a story, characters, research and all. Crocheted nearly a full scarf. And had new ideas for my editing that made me itch to jump back in.

That’s a lot and not something that I could have even thought about at the start of the week when I had no motivation for anything, let alone the previous weeks where I was forcing myself to edit. And it reinforced just how important taking breaks and allowing our brains to just….be. I’m not just talking about writing. It’s the same with any big project you are undergoing. Your brain needs time to roam.

I’m back into my edits now and am excited to get more done but I’ll be taking another break in a few weeks again and I’m trying to give myself a little less to do which means that I will be going back to posting every 5 or 6 days rather than every four days. Hopefully it will mean I won’t keep falling so far behind on reading and commenting on your posts too.

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12 thoughts on “Taking Breaks from Creativity”

  1. you know what I’m going to say don’t you? Look after yourself! I’m so pleased to hear you’ve got more energy now, but don’t overdo things! Little & often. Okay so the editing might take longer, but don’t push yourself too hard!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a huge believer in displacement activity when you get stuck or your brain grinds to a halt, or when you simply need to think about something else for a while. It certainly sounds as if you’ve turned the corner and are now raring to go again!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never stopped to really document my creative process and see what my cycle looks like. Indeed to do that, because I know I have an ebb and flow that can hinder or enhance creativity. Excellent insight here! I bet this helps you accomplish your goals on all fronts!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Can really relate to this. After creating my coaching website and doing a 24 hour Poetrython for a couple of weeks after I could not focus on anything. I felt like a sponge that had been wrung dry! A day at a local Swiss lake and a digital detox did the trick though and in a few days I was back wanting to create.

    Thanks for sharing. I am a Creative Life Coach and also have a poetry blog here on here on WordPress in case you have time to look? Have also included the link to my coaching website in case you are interested in seeing this too and do feel free to share with others as many of my sessions are held online via Skype, Facetime or Zoom.

    Sunny greetings from Switzerland,

    Sam 🙂




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