Rebooting the Writer’s Brain

Every writer has a distinct way of “rebooting” after they finish a long project. Short projects, or going back and forth between several projects at one time is one thing, but being completely immersed in a project and then suddenly having it finished is a different mental process. Some writers like to dive right into the next project; some prefer to take a little time off. Everyone has a unique spin on what recharges their creative brain.

As for me, for the first few hours after a project is finished, I find myself at loose ends, almost lost mentally. I’ll find a few spare moments and then have no idea what to do with the time since my project is done. Solitaire sees a lot of me in those first few hours!

Once the fuzzy-headed period passes, though, I go on an organization spree. I’ve just spent a month intensely editing my middle grade manuscript, and finally finished. Like usual, when I get deep into a project, I let everything else go except what is necessary. I had piles on my desk, non-writing household projects that have backed up, and EastEnders TV shows clogging up the DVR.

So far I’ve cleared my desk piles, finished a non-writing project and a half (and added a few more), and have checked a score of other items off the never-ending To-Do List. I haven’t gotten to the DVR yet—mostly because I’m watching the Olympics instead.

I find that taking a few days to catch up and organize clears my brain. It resets the switches so I can come to my next project focused and ready to roll. Not having all those loose ends takes the pressure off so I can have some fun with words.

How do you refocus after a long or intense project? What rituals work for you?

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