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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » How Do You Recharge Your Creative Batteries?

Author Topic: How Do You Recharge Your Creative Batteries?
Member # 2563

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When you've been writing and writing, and everything seems to be getting worse and worse, and you need a break, what do you do?

Posts: 41 | Registered: May 2005  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 2109

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Drink an inch of 12 year-old Scotch Single-Malt from Islay, on the rocks.

Bunnahabhain, usually.

Posts: 2710 | Registered: Jul 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 2267

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Take a break!

Or, more likely, take a break and decide on the resolution to the plotting problem that's been stymieing me, because that's what drains me: not knowing what to do.

Posts: 2830 | Registered: Dec 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 1680

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Read a good book. Wash dishes. Go see a movie, a play or work in my garden. Anything that might put energy in.
Posts: 2022 | Registered: Jul 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 2192

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yep, take a break and don't worry about it for a while. Try something different - take tap dancing lessons or something - be creative in a totally different way, and you'll be refreshed when you come back to writing.
Posts: 1750 | Registered: Oct 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Lord Darkstorm
Member # 1610

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Join in the flash challenge. I've come up with more creative ideas in the past month and a half than the past year.
Posts: 807 | Registered: Mar 2003  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 2213

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Something terribly exerting and violent if possible. Or get something to eat. (The two balance each other, which is the only reason that I don't resemble a balloon.) That's the short term fix to being stuck at a point in a particular story.

LDS suggested an excellent longterm fix. Those flash challenges have been terrific.

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Member # 2354

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It depends on why I need a break. If I'm stuck on a particular aspect of a story then I try two different things:
1. work on a different story (this is where the flash challenges help a lot)
2. read an "about writing" book because usually I will get inspired.

Sometimes I will try rewriting the scene completely from a different POV or angle to see if maybe I'm focusing on the wrong thing and that's why I'm stuck.

Sometimes I'll get involved in a good movie or video game just to get away entirely. Or read a good book of a different genre than I'm writing in.

Critiquing helps too. It gets my mind off my work but still keeps it active and sometimes shows me, in a round about way, where I got off track. It's easier to see mistakes in other people's work and sometimes I'll see something and say, "Hey, that's what I'm doing here in scene five. That's my problem."

And then when all else fails, get ice cream.

Posts: 225 | Registered: Feb 2005  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 2136

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Why does ice cream have to wait until all else fails? That hardly seems fair . . . especially since me and that container of cookies'n'cream have gotten so close . . .

I just switch gears, much like everyone else said. I trust that my subconscious is hammering away at it, and will let me know when it figures out whatever it is. Sometimes stories (at least mine anyway) need to age a bit. They tend to flesh out and flourish when I let them steep in my brain without really working on them for awhile, then I come back to them and go, "Oh yeah, THAT one. That's a great idea!" and I'm back into the fray.

Posts: 818 | Registered: Aug 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 1955

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That's the million dollar question.

I see the scene, the plot, the motivations of the characters. And the words keep tripping over one another. Once the scene starts in the right way, then it flows. But the key thing is the starting...

Sometimes its good to hack out a short story idea for a week, and then come back to it...

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Member # 1950

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If I'm really stuck in a creative block, I fast all creative outlets for at least a week.

After that I'm busting with ideas and creative energy.

Posts: 579 | Registered: Mar 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 213

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I honestly don't know. In my experience, the more I write, the better and more creative I get. The problem is making sure that I go ahead and write. It can be hard, knowing that I'll be a better writer tomorrow.

But then, I go ahead and read stuff that I've already written to assure myself I'm not a total slouch even now.

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Member # 2584

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What do I do? Stop working.

I find that if I can take a couple of days off I'm able to approach the material with a fresh mind.

I don't stop reading or watching movies thinking that will somehow help me. Often I found the answer to my problem in a movie or a novel. Creatively never grows in a void.

Posts: 24 | Registered: May 2005  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 2442

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I go to bed and get a good night's rest. My brain is fully recharged in the morning. All I need to be creative is some quiet time left alone.
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Member # 2147

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I leave the creativity-suppressing environment that is my family life.

Not that I'm bitter or anything.

Posts: 1041 | Registered: Aug 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator

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I also take a break, and let my creativity flow from any random aspect of life.

i.e - A giant tree you see on your way home could become the central palace of the tree gnomes.

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Member # 2077

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I take a wonderful long, luxurious soak in a whirlpool tub, with lots of bubble bath and my favourite music playing nearby.


Posts: 350 | Registered: Jul 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 2599

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I also stop working. The thing I'm working on is to eventually get back on them or picking endings first. But I'm doing babysteps.

Another thing I like to do, and I've done this for as long as I can remember, is to fold my baby blanket in half (triangle-wise) and tie it around my head. It usually helps.

I have a number of novel-based role playing groups I belong to. A lot of people disagree on this, but I enjoy switching over to something where the characters are familiar and the universe is already created. It at least keeps me writing when I'm stuck on my own things. And sometimes I do get super-motivated and decide to use that opportunuty to work on dialogue or description. I also like to throw in plot wrenches and see how other people deal with those things. <shameless>

I also recently had a book on shamanic journeying recommended to me on two separate occassions. So I went and bought it. I do find I'm more creative when I keep up a regular meditation or prayer time. After having my daughter, I got out of that habit and try to sleep as late as possible. I'm trying to resurrect that habit of inner me-time.

[This message has been edited by Ahavah (edited May 29, 2005).]

Posts: 239 | Registered: May 2005  | Report this post to a Moderator
Member # 2002

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After the break is over...

I hit the library and do some research. Any subject will do. I always get great ideas, and I love being in the library.

Then, if I still don't want to work on that project that stumped me, I let it ferment in my brain while I work on something else. Maybe something new.

Maybe a Flash Challenge!

Posts: 1672 | Registered: Apr 2004  | Report this post to a Moderator

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