Writing: On the Post-Creative Thump

I got a little more done on Tell No Tales yesterday; added maybe 200 words, by clarifying a character more on the very first page and fixing a spot in the draft where another character’s knowledge had contradicted itself. (NaNo means writing faster than brain, sometimes.) But mostly the day was… thump. As in writing this post took effort.

It’s kind of like the end of a marathon, when I hit the end of a project. For a while I just have to fall over, mentally, while the neurons recharge.

I actually believe there might be a certain level of neurochemicals that gets depleted and has to physically recover. I have a bit of an odd brain-

(Yes, I see you all snickering in the peanut gallery. Not news, I take it.)

Anyway, I find writing sort of… self-medicating. When I’ve finished something, it’s like my brain’s leveled out for a while. On the one hand I wonder if this is what most people feel like all the time, not having manic characters demanding to be Written Right Now! OTOH, the quiet gets suspicious.

(“It’s quiet. Too quiet.” Yep.)

Sometimes the level bit lasts longer than others. A month like this one, “level” shortly went into “it’s cold and gray and bleah.” Dratted November weather. And holidays.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is, so far as I know, the “pause” is normal. Frustrating, but normal. The plotbunnies will get organized again. Once they’ve had some rest.

…The idea they had during the last part of NaNo was a fluffy youthful fantasy romance.

I dunno about you, but that’s scary. 😉

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20 thoughts on “Writing: On the Post-Creative Thump

  1. Huh. Bunnies are very weird. At least you got NaNo done, early even. But this cold snap has done no one any favors for creative anything. Between that and work I’ve had literally no will to actually do anything but decompress. The fact that you have managed to do NaNo is amazing.

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    1. I got it done early in part because I was planning for a few unavoidable days of “will not be able to get ANYTHING done”. And then I was able to manage a couple hundred on them anyway.

      But partly I got it by just, whenever I hit a point where brain just wouldn’t move? Saying, “Okay, let’s just write down the gist of ‘Devon gets local library aide to spill the gossip in the magical community’.” Or whatever the next event was. And then write from there.

      Agree on the cold snap. Brain iz so ded.

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  2. Fluffy youthful fantasy romance sounds fun though. If you ever write it I’d read it. I know you don’t focus on romance but I’ve really liked those moments scattered in your fics.

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  3. Heh. Did those bunnies ever say how long they planned on it being fluffy youthful fantasy romance? Because I fully suspect things to go sideways on the youthful pair about twenty pages in after introductions.

    Congrats on finishing!!

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    1. That’s an extremely good question. I’m trying to steer them away from too much spy vs. spy court intrigue or Lord Marksman and Vanadis army stuff. (That second will be harder, the bunnies kind of like the idea of “not a sword guy but still a fighter”.) Outside of that who knows.

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      1. Hmm…

        My bunnies started to make suggestions about building the fluffy romantic fantasy on top of a gritty crime drama.

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  4. Eat good, sleep good, take some vitamins.

    You are probably right about the neuro stuff. But beyond that, brain exertion really does count as exertion, and imagining physical activities tends to be experienced by some parts of the body as physical exertion. So yeah, you just finished a life-long period of hard work. You are pooped like a lumberjack fresh out of the woods.

    You need whatever your most fun and healthy equivalent is of steak, beer, and hanging out. Anime karaoke and dancing around like a maniac, maybe.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hitting one and three, working on two. Allergies pulled out whole new levels of sensitive that interrupted my sleep; I think I nailed down the culprit, finally. And I admit I’m sulking about it, because Havarti on spaghetti is awesome. But that versus sleep? No contest.

      Hmm, steak…. 🙂

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  5. Ugh, I know that feeling. I have to write/get out creative energy somehow every single day or I can’t sleep. Lack-of-writing-induced insomnia. Fun.

    Out of curiosity, how much of an outline do you put together before you start writing? Do you have a basic idea and just write the story as it comes to you, or do you have an actual structure and bulletpoints and fill in the gaps?

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    1. *Fistbump* Yep. Brain keeping us awake because of ideas is a Thing. I keep pen and paper by my bed for a reason – sometimes if I just write down whatever odd bit they come up with so I can come back to it later they’ll let me sleep.

      Hmm. I find that in order to make sure a story works, and I can write it all the way to the end, I need the image of the starting scene and characters in it, at least a vague image of the end scene, and at least three or four things that happen in-between. Stories that don’t have that end scene image tend to stall. Augh.

      Yes, see the unfinished fanfics on AO3. Argh. If I can win enough free time to re-immerse myself in the setting and find the end scene, then maybe I can finish them. But it’s so much better to have the scene before writing!

      Then as I’m writing the story, I often stick to the “3 scene rule”. I.e., have a general idea of what happens in the next 3 scenes. So I don’t outline the story all the way through, but it ends up being loosely outlined as I go, if that makes sense? Call me a plantser.

      Bulletpoints, never. My brain screams and runs away, too much course stuff associated….

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  6. That sounds like the peaks and valleys of mood swings, like manic depression.

    …which, counter to those two buzz words, isn’t saying there’s anything wrong. Those are just examples of the system when broken. ^.^

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    1. *Snrk*

      …No, I take that seriously, it’s just that I’m the least manic person you’re probably ever likely to meet. I tend to have a very level personality. Kind of like the massive boulder resting on the side of a mountain. Looooots of inertia… but if it does get shoved, takes a while to stop.

      (This is why I hate dealing with histrionics. “No, I cannot get as upset as you are about X, you’ll be fine in an hour and it will take me days to recover my equanimity. No. Won’t do it.”)

      Mood swings, though, yes – although most of the ones I used to have went away when I got more allergens out of my diet, thank goodness!

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  7. I totally understand how your feeling, and at the same time I’m actually jealous. I had a very hard time with Nano this year and I haven’t had characters screaming at me to get written for over a year. I miss it, oddly enough. I still get ideas, but they keep getting pushed to the back burner and then I never seem to find time to nurture them. But I still remember what it was like, reaching the end. And I agree with you. The pause is normal. And your bunnies are a little more rabid than most, I think. Thanks for sharing your awesome stories with us!

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    1. Ouch, that doesn’t sound fun. Any way you can rearrange some of what you’re doing to give you a clear half-hour or so a day just to contemplate story ideas?

      OTOH it may be that your plotbunnies haven’t found the right thing to sink their teeth into yet. Sometimes I’ve poked around on Crunchyroll looking at shows by picking a random letter of the alphabet, just to look at Something Different. 🙂

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    2. Ask yourself about changes in your life over that period. Creative writing thinking can be very delicate, and can be impacted by little things like poor sleep, energies spent to other ends or long term depression. When your thinking capacity is changing the ability to do work, spend some introspection on processes and possible root causes.

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