The Power of 15

You know what Americans say when you ask how they are?

(If you said fine, you’re so ten years ago).

The new answer is busy.

I say it, too, because it’s true. I’m busy. You’re busy. All God’s (American) children are busy.

The question I’ve been asking for a long time: How do I maintain the mental margin needed to foster creativity when there’s something to do every minute of the day?

monochrome photography of woman standing at the subway
Photo by Úrsula Madariaga on

Then I noticed something.

Most days, I find myself with the odd chunk of time, a snippet of dead space where I could be getting something done, but I just don’t want to. Lately, instead of feeling guilty that I’m not being ultra-productive, I’ve been staring off into space, if only for 10-15 minutes. I don’t look at my phone or check email. I don’t try to fit in a little reading. I sure as heck don’t try to work on my book.

I just daydream.

It’s sort-of saving my life. I find I have more peace and clarity on days when I give myself this kind of mini-break. I can tap into my creative side more easily when it’s time to write or edit. Often, my ideas are queued up, just waiting for me to implement them.

In short, letting my brain wander for 10-15 minutes has paid big creative dividends, so I’m not planning on ditching this “wasted” time any time soon.

What about you? Do you have a few minutes you can afford to “squander” by letting yourself do nothing but think?

I hope you do.

Pushing Through Creative Fatigue

My brain is dead-tired as I finish up the last few chapters of my current novel, but my body feels pretty normal. These days, I crave mental breaks that don’t necessarily have anything to do with sleep.

In a recent post, writer and coach Lauren Sapala reminded fellow creatives that sometimes the best way to practice self care isn’t to sleep but to do something different. For many of us, the world of ideas is an exhausting place to live, but going to bed earlier doesn’t necessarily fix things.

red human face monument on green grass field
Photo by Mikes Photos on

This is true for me, and I’ve taken to watching old television shows on YouTube and reading British fiction, especially at night. Sapala’s post was a reminder that there’s a good reason I feel like I need to do these things more often right now.

It’s called creative fatigue, and I’m trying to rest by immersing myself in other worlds.

Thinking about it like this (sort-of) lessens the guilt I feel when I tune in to Boris Karloff’s deliciously cheesy Thriller series after my husband has fallen asleep for the night. Besides, I know that as soon as my novel is complete I’ll be out like a light, again.