Crop Rotation and Creativity

There are times when I’m drained, when there is not a creative thought left in my head. I may be half-way through a novel and suddenly come up empty. For a while, I berated myself for those days when I didn’t produce, but then came to realize that it’s a cycle and just as the flow has slowed to a trickle, so it will turn on and become a raging torrent again. Like a field that needs to go fallow, sometimes a writer’s manuscript needs to be set aside until an idea strikes.

Most people can’t ‘work when they feel like it’. And writers are no exception. Sometimes you have to sit down with your uncooperative inner child and hope that something comes out. A few different tricks help. They may not work for everyone, but feel free to take what you need and leave the rest.

1) Change stories.  When burned out on one story for the day, I find I can work another few hours on something else.

2) Put the work aside and start on something new.  Akin to changing stories, but this involves SETTING THE WORK ASIDE–as in, the manuscript is not looked at for a month or more…but the good news, in the meantime, you’ve got another going.

3) Change where you write. Go outside. Go to the park. Sit on your bed instead of at the computer. Sit at the computer instead of the bed.

4) Take a complete day off. (This doesn’t apply if you’ve already taken the day and don’t want to drag your butt to the desk. Writers at the beginning of their career who haven’t adapted steady habits will suffer using this too much)

5) Return to an older story…(one of those put aside in #2).

6)   Play.  The single most important thing you can do is let yourself play, with the characters, plot, scene, artistry of the covers, whatever it is, take time to enjoy it.

7) Write a short story outside your normal genre.

8) Go to the ocean, mountains, river, lake, wherever it is you find your soul.

(Hmmm…Number 8 was hijacked by an emoticon, but I kind of like it…)

9) Eat properly and get enough sleep.  Advice I don’t utilize enough myself…I guess I’ll try it. 🙂

Good Night All & Pleasant Dreams



About jeanetteraleigh

Jeanette Raleigh is an artist and author who has spent most of her life at some creative pursuit. Whether painting a castle or writing a novel, Jeanette enjoys the playful aspects of creation and strives to make worlds where others feel at home. You can find her works of art and information about her fiction at
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1 Response to Crop Rotation and Creativity

  1. Stacy Mezick says:

    Good information and incredibly enlightening. Thanks for taking the time to write it and post it!

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