Sustaining Your Creativity During Fiction Withdrawals

Jessica Baverstock

Jessica Baverstock

It’s Friday, which always means a possible guest blogger might pop up here on and today, we have one! Please welcome Jessica Baverstock. She’s a frequent visitor and commenter here, so chances are youย  already have an idea of how insightful she is from her feedback on my posts.

Today, she wanted to reach out and help me with my creativity dry spell as I switch from fiction to nonfiction. The concept of creativity is her specialty. I hope you not only enjoy her approach, but also find yourself inspired to get creating!

Sustaining Your Creativity During Fiction Withdrawals

We writers love being immersed in our fiction. The world building, character development and plot twists keep our creative minds racing.

But that’s not all there is to writing.

Editing and working on non-fiction projects are necessary and important. The problem is, they can take us away from our fiction writing and lead to Fiction Withdrawals.

Why Does It Happen?

Editing, especially proofreading, is not an overly creative experience. The freedom of the first draft is often replaced by the mind-numbing act of tinkering with grammar and picking up typos.

Non-fiction, while it has its creative moments, doesn’t provide you with the same breadth of creative canvas as your novels.

So what does the creative part of your mind do during that time?

First, you get antsy. Your Creativity is surging and wants to get back to writing fiction. You experience Fiction Withdrawals.

The problem is, if this situation is not addressed you can eventually move into the second stage. Your Creativity starts to lose momentum, becomes stale and eventually stops pestering you.

Fiction Withdrawals don’t last forever. Once they pass, your Creativity can turn into an overweight couch potato who can’t even create a lame joke without several day’s warning.


What’s the Solution?

Your less creative projects are important, but so is keeping your Creativity happy and active. You may not have time to immerse yourself in your fiction like you normally do, but there are plenty of small things you can put into practice so the creative cogs don’t rust up.

We’re going to mention some helpful tips, but each person is different. You need to decide what will work for:

  • Your personal Creativity, and
  • Your personal circumstances.


To stop your Creativity turning into an unhealthy couch potato, you need to make sure you’re feeding your Creativity the right foods.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Keep up an intake of creative inspiration. Most of us get our inspiration from reading, but you may not have time to delve into your favourite epic right now. Instead, you could use great movies, inspiring artwork or moving music to give you a creative boost. You could also invest in an audio version of your favourite book and listen to that when driving or exercising.
  • Change things regularly. Change sparks Creativity. You don’t have to move country to experience change. Just rearranging your room, altering your routine, varying your meals, and taking a different route to a familiar place can all have an impact on your Creativity.
  • Get outside. Go for a walk and explore. Taking time out for yourself attracts ideas because your mind has some ‘down time’ to file things away.


The second step to keeping your Creativity happy and active is providing your Creativity time to exercise.

Here are some suggestions that shouldn’t take too much time away from your other projects:

  • Start your day with a small word count. Can you spend 500 words or 1/2 hour on your fiction manuscript to begin your day? It’s not your usual immersion level, but it could be enough to keep you in touch with your fiction writing.
  • Keep a notebook for your novel. If you’re not able to write regularly, can you note your ideas down in a little book so they’ll be there when you’re ready to write? Flicking through your little book from time to time and rereading your ideas can also stave off Fiction Withdrawals.
  • Write short stories. If working on a novel would be too big a distraction, could you work on a short story instead?

Remember, the aim is to keep your Creativity in good shape while you’re going through Fiction Withdrawals, so you’ll be ready to immerse yourself in your fiction again very soon.

How do you keep your Creativity in shape during Fiction Withdrawals?

Jessica's book! How cool is this cover? I love it!

Jessica’s book! How cool is this cover? I love it!

Jessica Baverstock is a writer who is fascinated by the creative process. She blogs at Creativityโ€™s Workshop where her creativity writes in purple text. Her latest e-book Creativity on Demand covers how writers can access their creativity whenever and wherever they need inspiration. Her Twitter handle is @jessbaverstock.


20 responses to “Sustaining Your Creativity During Fiction Withdrawals

  1. Pingback: The Advantages of Writing Fewer Words | Creativity's Workshop

  2. Thank you for your glowing introduction and the opportunity to guest post today!

    I love all the useful tips and tricks you share on your blog. We, your audience, are a very spoilt bunch.

  3. Excellent guest post Jessica. I will keep this in mind for when I am editing my first draft in future ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. This is such a great post! Considering I work for an online news site (i.e. pretty much non-fiction related reviews and columns), I tend not to bask in fiction as much any more. I’ll use these tips over the summer since I’ll have much more free time to go for a walk! Thank you again!

    • You’re very welcome. Walking is a great way to expose yourself to creative input. I find focusing on a particular sense (like smell or sound) while I walk helps me to notice things that normally wouldn’t catch my attention.

      Enjoy your summer! ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Great guest post and I love the advice. Now, I’m going to rearrange the backyard while listening to my iPod and keeping a notebook in my back pocket. ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Nice blog. I like to do other creative things if I’m mired on edit mode. Like crafting, painting and the like. I’m not much good at them but I enjoy them and they allow me to be creative without taking focus from my novel.

  7. Pingback: Weekly Recap โ€“ May 17th, 2013 | Phillip McCollum

  8. Pingback: How I’m Handling A Writer’s Slump: When Writing–Fiction, Nonfiction, Blogging–Becomes Hard. | Creative Writing with the Crimson League

  9. Love the tips, Jess! I have more input than output, for sure. Story ideas occur to me frequently, especially on trips. And I think that also requires staying immersed in a creative mindset, even when we’re not feeling creative. When I was in art college, I’d look at colors through the eyes of mixing oil paints to create that color. That mindset’s faded now since I’ve moved on to other creative outlets like writing and editing. As for output, before I started blogging, a lot of my output came from writing random story notes in a journal. A lot of them ended up not being used, but at least the juices were still flowing!

    • Ooh, there is NOTHING like travel to get the creative juices flowing! Something about unfamiliar terrain and new experiences, about shaking up routine…. it does marvels.

    • You’re so right, “staying immersed in a creative mindset, even when you’re not feeling creative” is so important. It’s the belief that if you immerse yourself for long enough you will eventually find an idea or some sort of nugget to keep you inspired.

      I love the idea of “looking at colours through the eyes of mixing oil paints.” I’m going to try that!

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