what to do when you’re knackered

It has been a massively fortunate few years.

From the wild, exhilarating energy of the first plays’ nascence to the readings, workshops, productions, and awards, it has been the kind of ride that many writers never experience, one for which I express daily gratitude and reciprocate as often as I’m able.

And I’m bushed.

I’ve spent a bit of time trawling for advice, both personal and Web-based, in part because diving into the current work, well, the coffee just hasn’t hit yet, any excuse in a storm.

To avoid or alleviate word-slinging fatigue, I’ve found admonitions to stay hydrated, to take walks or exercise, to stretch the body upon waking and prior to sleep.  I’m told that I should eat wisely, take my vitamins, and nap.  Others say there’s nothing like a good whine, or that swinging in a hammock reading someone else’s output is the way to go.  One helpful article suggests that if I’m exhausted, I’m trying to do too much.  Surprise!

How do I reconcile all of these well-meaning prescriptions with the experiential knowledge that if I just push through the weariness, true, unfettered, unbiased creativity awaits?

Of course, instead of doing just that, I’m indulging in a bit of research to see whether anyone else supports my theory.

My leg-work came up with titles like “Problem-Solving Oscillations in Complex Engineering Projects” and “Contact Centers with a Call-Back Option and Real-Time Delay Information” and “A Review of the Literature on the Missile-Allocation Problem.”

Which didn’t really help.

And then I discovered Discovery Learning and Transfer of Problem-Solving Skills by Mark A. McDaniel and Mark S. Schlager.

In a nutshell, they say that when a brand new strategy is generated to solve a problem, not an adaptation of an old strategy but one with entirely new processes, the solution is far superior.  Ergo, the mind is newly invigorated and creativity ensues.

Sounds precisely like playwrighting to me, opening my mind to my characters’ as-yet unexpressed ideas and quirks and foibles.

In other words, I should take advantage of my current state to create rather than research.

So I will.

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