Recharging a drained brain

Brain Drain game

© What What / flickr.com

I’ve spent the past six months in servitude to my work in progress. My daily word counts have been massively helped by writing marathons, like the Ruby Slippered Sisterhood‘s Winter Writing Festival and Savvy Authors’ May Bootcamp.

These helped me finish my first draft just a few days after my husband finished writing his PhD.

The last two months have been particularly difficult for us as we both spent every waking hour writing writing writing. My husband handed his PhD in a week ago, and I sent my draft off to readers on Saturday.

Then we both hit a wall. After going to the library every day (yes, even Saturdays) from opening to closing for months, my husband didn’t quite know what to do with himself this week.

After spending hours getting words on paper and crafting my story, I’ve been feeling brain dead.

But the process isn’t finished for either of us. My husband will have to defend his PhD in just over a month, and I’ll have to make (probably significant) changes to my story once my readers get back to me.

So how do you recharge yourself when you’ve given everything yet know you need to gear up for round two?

Here’s what I’ve been doing.

1. Make time for all the things you sacrifice when you’re in your writing cave.

For me, that’s things like watching The Apprentice (British version) and laughing at how the candidates’ arrogance is directly proportionate to their ineptitude. This week, I’ve also been cooking dinners with my husband instead of buying ready-meals. My husband spent Tuesday at Lords watching cricket. And we spent several hours at the beach in Norfolk, followed by sharing a cream tea in a pub on Saturday.

Bliss.

2. Don’t come to jarring halt.

I always have plenty of writing-related things to do – whether it’s critiques for my friends, writing blog posts or reviewing books. But this week I’ve focused on getting my pitch ready for RWA Nationals. I’m still doing something productive, but it’s a small, manageable project and helps me keep my head in my story.

I always find that motivation is difficult to kick-start once I’ve put a project aside for a while.

How do you refresh yourself after hitting a milestone in a big project?

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4 Comments

Filed under Writer's toolbox

4 responses to “Recharging a drained brain

  1. I usually hit a wall, utterly exhausted, and vow to do nothing writing-related for a week. Usually, by day two, I’m cooking up new things to work on. Something about deciding NOT to do anything writing-related gets my batteries to recharge. Of course one of these days, I could just toss it off and go back to quilting 🙂

    • Katrina

      No – never! As gorgeous as your quilts are, Suz, I don’t ever want you to give up writing. 🙂

      That said, there’s nothing wrong with taking a mental break by doing something else creative, like quilting. Which reminds me, I still owe my nephew a baby quilt.

  2. When I feel drained I spend time with things that don’t take much brain-power. A walk in the park, watching a comedy movie, cooking a new dish or simply watching some trashy reality TV show; there is always humor it that!!

    • Katrina

      Sounds wonderfully peaceful, Triplicity! And since I’m reading this on a Monday morning before heading to work, your words make me yearn for another day to relax!

      Have a lovely week. 🙂

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