The nature of creative work is that there are times you reach for it and it just isn’t there. Sometimes, this happens for days (or even weeks) in a row. Sometimes this happens with an encroaching deadline. You camp your ass in the chair, glue your fingers on the keyboard, and there’s just…nothing.
It’s not block. You’re not stuck—it’s just the tank is empty. Creative production is mentally and emotionally taxing, and you’ve only got so much gas before you need to refill. Run on E for too long, you’re just gonna end up hitchhiking through Monkey’s Eyebrow, Arkansas hoping whoever picks you up doesn’t take a fancy to one of your kidneys.
And the hardest thing in the world to do is to not grip it quite so tightly. To get out of your own head. To loosen up, rest, and trust that you’ll get your swing back in time. To trust that your talent can’t have wandered too far and fallen off a cliff. To trust that creative convalescence is key to the whole damn process.
I’ve been through this cycle countless times, and you’d think I’d have learned how to manage it by now.
Spoiler: I haven’t.