Deadlines Don’t Care if the Well Is Dry
This week has been chock full o’ fast and furious deadlines. I’ve reached the point where my synonym brain (a highly scientific term for the area of my head that helps me create better, more concise language) is running on E. I love being busy, but, sometimes, my mental stamina lags behind my desire to create (let’s not discuss how long it took me to write this post). It’s a little bit of a different feeling than being blocked. If I can, I like to switch from writing to editing (or vice versa). But, when the well is dry, the well is dry, and there is no escaping it.
In no particular order, here’s what I like to do to recharge my creativity so I can go from a dry husk to a well-oiled machine:
1. Run. Hitting the pavement and putting one foot in front of the other can really clear my brain. Plus, you can’t beat the uplifting zing of endorphins. If the idea of running seems out of your reach, I highly recommend following a program like Couch to 5K that breaks it down into manageable steps (literally). If the weather is not cooperating with your desire to get outside, pop in a yoga DVD (these folks produce some of my favorites) and focus on your inner realm.
2. Knit. Knitting is another way to create and produce, but it doesn’t involve words – refreshing!
3. Do chores. Not a popular option, I know, but hot water and suds are just one part of all those mindless tasks that free up the mental processes. Plus, who can think while surrounded by mess?
4. Get out of the house and consume creativity from someone else. A change in scenery and a focus on input, rather than output, can bring inspiration. I like movies and rock shows because I can easily get absorbed in storylines or bass lines, which will help me forget all about why I needed to escape the house in the first place.
5. Cook. Brains need fuel, our bodies need sustenance, and reaching for junky crap to crunch on when you’re sick of gnawing at your pens is not a tactic I recommend. It’s pretty easy to take walnuts and dates and cinnamon and whip up some homemade snack bars in the food processor. The omega-3 fatty acids in the walnuts will help oil up those synapses, and you’ll get a kick of energy from the dried fruit. You can get totally fancy with this idea, too.
The caveat, of course, is that some of these things can turn into a stretch of tried-and-true procrastination. When you’re on deadline, you have to fire up that machine of your brain regardless of the reading on your mental gas tank. That’s the beauty of being a creative for hire. If all else fails, I hereby give you permission to take ten minutes to sit in a chair and stare.by