Oct 26, 2012

Filling the Creative Gas Tank

Last week, I had a break from school, the kids are old enough that they'd rather be playing with their friends, so I put butt in chair and wrote, edited, tweaked, fixed and poured myself into my WIP. 

By the end of my break, though, I was exhausted.  I had sufficiently emptied my creative gas tank.  It became very apparent I was running on creative fumes when I stared at my computer where I had been able to just know what work needed to come next and there was nothing. 

So I went to the Utah Shakespearean Festival's production of Les Miserables.  That got me to at least halfway because for me, there is nothing more inspiring than live productions.  I caught an episode of Downton Abbey. And I dove into a book I have been wanting to read for a long time, giving myself permission to take a night off of reading and get the creative tank full. 

The next day, I knew what was stuck in the scene, I knew how the complicated climax was all going to happen and I could see where I had previously left gaps.  

Sometimes, as writers, we really just want to produce, produce, produce.  But I firmly believe our creativity is like a gas tank, and you may be an economy brain or a high power burn through the fuel faster brain.  The key is for us to know what we are and give ourselves opportunities to get the tank full.  

What do you like to do to fill your tank? Music?  Art?  Immersing yourself in someone else's words?  


20 comments :

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Either playing my guitar or watching a good movie does it for me. Glad you're all inspired now!

Elaine said...

I totally agree with you. It's hard to let myself off the hook sometimes without feeling guilty, but reminding myself that it'll probably make me MORE productive in the long run is a great idea!

Jessie Humphries said...

Baths, candles, good food, movies, ALIAS, good books, hanging out with writing friends, pretty much does it for me. And I flew to Utah, so I couldn't really have stopped. Though I waved at you! Didn't you see me?

Lisa Regan said...

Yes, baths. I love hot baths but mostly for me, I watch a lot of TV when I want to refuel. It is completely passive on my part and yet if I find a movie or show that has great writing and great stories, I find myself inspired all over again and that my creativity is flowing once more!

Emily R. King said...

Very true! I'm glad you refilled your tank, Tasha. :)

S.P. Bowers said...

So true. I've been beating myself up lately because I've been too empty to write. I've been trying anyway but everything is a struggle and not very good so I beat myself up some more. Yesterday I gave myself permission to take a day off and just the fact that I didn't feel guilty filled me half way.

Miranda Hardy said...

Music helps a lot, but sometimes a trip to a nature preserve is in order. It helps clear my head, to push all the nonsense out.

Suzanne Furness said...

I agree we all need a regular 'top up.'

Jess said...

I almost never watch television anymore, so I try to spend an evening watching a sitcom or reality cooking show instead of being on the computer. I agree that breaks are crucial!

Julie Luek said...

Hot baths and wine and long hikes in nature. Walks by the lake with my dog and no agenda. If there's snow, x-country skiing. A good fluff book that I'm NOT reading to learn from. (These are a few of my favorite things... I was almost humming this as I typed.)

ilima said...

A good movie! Bonus if it's for a date night. That always gets my creative juices flowing

sydneyaaliyah said...

Julie and Iliana have the right idea. Hot bath and a good movie do it for me.

Livia said...

I really need to fill up my creative gas tank but it's taking me FOREVER. And I do really wanna write but the words aren't coming to me.

This supportive and encouraging online writing community and movies fill it up 2\4 but could use a lot more. Should find some more mediums to get my creative gas tank over flowing :)

Michelle Gregory said...

reading and watching my favorite movies.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I am totally guilty of pressuring myself to produce when what I really need to do is walk away from the project and fill up the gas tank, as you said.

The best things for me to do are watch TV and read some good books.

Also, doing something mindless/tedious like painting a wall, weeding, or scrubbing a floor lets my subconscious do its thing and recharge.

Jess Stork said...

You make a good point, Tasha. I find that the points when I'm stuck in my manuscript is the best time for house cleaning. (How else would I get it done?) A lot of times when I'm scrubbing the mildew off my bathtub, that's when inspiration strikes.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Great point. I usually dive into some reading material that I admire and it gets me back in the writing chair.

Nicole said...

Excellent! I think I might be under a quarter tank on the ole creativity meter right now, so I'm off to fill up. ;)

loverofwords said...

Trying hard to think of something never works. I think you need to float your subconscious out there, set the thought in your head and do other things. Take a break, stop worrying, and then Eureka. . .there's your idea, or the first line or last line as is the case sometimes.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Yep! We have to get out from behind the computer and live a little.