I don't know what happened. One morning I just sat down and opened up my blog dashboard and my brain shut down. Have I been pushing myself too hard? Getting involved in too many things? Joining too many blogfests and challenges? Probably. It feels like the creative center of my brain just shut down. Probably from overwork. I feel like I haven't accomplished much. But when I think about it rationally, I realize that for the past several months I've been enjoying a spurt of creativity greater than any I've experienced so far in my life. Then one day it just gave out on me.
I closed down my dashboard and I've barely looked at it since. I missed Alex's blogfest. (Sorry, Alex!) And I failed to return interview questions by the date my interview was supposed to be posted. (My apologies, E.R.!) But I desperately needed to walk away for a little while. I have barely read a blog or thought about blogging for over a week and, honestly, it felt good. In hindsight I see that I was running on fumes for the first part of this month, barely getting by, not receiving the inspiration I've grown accustomed to. If I even so much as thought about my stories my brain would slow to a sluggish crawl.
I realize what a real danger pushing yourself too hard can be. Unfortunately, it's a tendency of mine. I've been pressuring my brain to come up with new ideas, new material. I've been attempting to create an entire world in my mind. I've been demanding much of my creativity, but not feeding it enough. It finally said, enough is enough.
I think this is why it's so important for writers to continually read as well. Reading feeds our creative brain. The more story it soaks up the more it understands and can produce. And thus it's important to give it a steady stream of new material. New stories, new ideas, new techniques to take in and process and add to your author's toolbox.
It's been several months since I read something new that was really good, good enough to fire my own imagination. (Though I have to admit, that last rocket boost from Lord Dunsany kept me going a good long time.) Which is probably why my creativity started to sputter and die. But recently the final book in a trilogy that I found quite fascinating finally came out and as soon as my husband was done with it I dived in. And despite its flaws, this book has been like a feast to a starving man for my imagination. Particularly since the plot happens pretty much entirely in Hell and the author spends a fair bit of time world building the various circles and regions therein. This is of interest to me because one of my novels will have large sections devoted to action happening in the underworld of my fantasy realm. I've learned a lot from this author's treatment of a similar type of landscape. The wheels of my creative brain are starting to spin again.
I was even able to open up blogger and write this post without my brain turning to goo. Though, admittedly, I feel way out of the loop now. I'm not even going to try to catch up on most of the blogs I've missed. I'm just going to look ahead and get back into the swing of things going forward. I've got blogfests to prepare for! And I've learned something from this whole experience. Don't push your imagination too hard without giving it regular meals. And take a break when you need to.