It has good reason to be nervous, since it hasn't been called into action for a while. It feels rusty and creaky and fearful that it doesn't know how to do its job anymore. Even when I'm writing on a daily basis, there are times when creativity does not flow. It's not necessarily stuck. It's just dormant. It's taken me a while to learn that it is recharging, and gathering steam, and it will end up being almost too strong to handle when it does come back.
So what do you do when you want to be creative but your creativity is hibernating?
- Don't panic -- This is the hardest part. It always, and I mean always, feels like we've had our last date with the muse, and we can't help but wonder what we did to drive her away. We don't believe her when she flits away, tossing over her shoulder, "I'll call you". We wring our hands, desperately trying to figure out a solution, ready to sell our soul to make her happy once more. But just as we have a need to step away from the work, so does the muse. Give her some space. Everyone will benefit from the separation.
- Fix the easy stuff -- Concentrate on things that are more rote, or mundane--all of those little details that you don't have time for when you're in the giddy phase of word sprints. Now you can search for extra spaces in your manuscript. Check the formatting. Or spend some time on that research that makes you feel guilty when you "should" be writing. Check the links on previous blog posts. While you're re-reading them, see if they spark any new ideas and write down some notes for when the muse is back in town.
- Read your own work -- This time read your story as a reader, not a writer. Let yourself get lost in the characters and the events you created. Fall in love again with the world you imagined a long while ago, before you had to tear it down and rebuild it. Remember what it was like to immerse yourself in a book that sprang from your heart. Sometimes this is enough to resuscitate that creative spirit that has gone dormant temporarily.
- Take time to play -- We get so absorbed with writing, and writing-related activities, we don't know how to enjoy other aspects of life. We forget that writing is a reflection of our non-writing experiences. We need to replenish those, so that we have something to draw on when it's time to add words to the page. So enjoy the unexpected break from the writing routine. Go outside and see what the rest of the world is doing. Store up some events that will inspire you at a later date. You might be surprised at what is outside your four walls.
So get your pens and laptops ready. Creativity is on its way!