Writing Tip: When Creative Energy is Low

Charging TimeEveryone experiences it at some time.
That creative project is staring you in the face, and you know you need to work on it.
But you can’t find the motivation.

It has many names; low creative energy, creative burnout, creative exhaustion, creative funk.
It’s not like we don’t have any ideas. We do. Tons of them.
We just can’t seem to muster the energy or the motivation to tackle them and do the work.


Here are three main reasons you may suffer from low creative energy.

Let’s take a look at them. See if they sound familiar to you.

Sometimes our body is tired. 

We are over-worked and stressed out. We need a break from work or a vacation. Or sometimes it’s because we haven’t been eating properly to Creative Funkfuel our body. Or we haven’t been exercising often enough to get our metabolism up and surging.

Not taking care of our physical body will cause us to feel lackluster about everything. Which of course can affect our creative energy level and drive down the desire to get to work.

So when I’m struggling with my creative energy level, the first thing I do is mentally check in with my body to see if I have been treating it badly.

If this proves true for you, take the necessary steps to take care of yourself.


Sometimes our soul/spirit is overwrought with grief or worry and frustration. 

Let’s face it. Life can throw you a lot of curve balls. How we react to those challenges is what builds our character. Our attitude will determine how quickly we can overcome those challenges.

Nature TrailFor me, the one true way I can always quickly restore my spirit to the right place is to walk out the door. Yep, get outside into nature. It can be a simple walk around the backyard…listening to the birds, the wind in the leaves. Looking at the trees and flowers. Watching clouds in the sky. Taking in the fresh air. Even 15 minutes can make a huge difference for me. Or sometimes I need to find a quiet place and sit for a while. I may even drift off for a short nap (something I never do indoors) or I may simply watch the clouds or birds…and breath.

When I was participating in The Artist Way Course, one of our class assignments was to go to a toy store and pick out some toys. We had to be kids for the day. I bought the biggest box of crayons I could find (the one my parents could never afford for school) and a coloring book. I bought a slinky and some plastic animals. I remembered what it felt like to be a child again. To this day I have toys scattered about my desk area, and bright colored highlighters and post-its, as well as my crystals and incense.

Take time to play once in a while. Remember to look at the world from a child’s perspective.


Sometimes our creative energy lags because we know we have a huge task awaiting us. 

It never fails. I have a tough scene to tackle…a book to finish and I don’t know how to end it…my imagination is stuck on where to go Stressed Outnext. That’s when I have to be brutally honest with myself and ask the hard question. Am I procrastinating because I’m being lazy and I don’t want to do the hard work?

Most often that is the case. When this is the issue I do several things. I look at how I can break the task into smaller bites before trying to tackle it. Even if it’s little baby steps…I just need to start.

Then I make myself sit in the chair. I preform my before-writing-ritual of lighting my sandalwood incense and putting on my favorite Native American music. This ritual has been performed for so many years that my body and mind instinctively begin the process of relaxing into the proper state of mind.

Sometimes I make deals with myself to work for a reward.
Or I promise myself treats if I accomplish the task at hand. Sounds silly—but it can work.


Once you determine the cause of your low creative energy you’ll better know how to move forward.

Maybe you need time in nature to recharge your spirit. Or maybe you need to bribe yourself to break the task into smaller pieces and get busy—and do the hard work. Or maybe today you start to take better care of your physical body, so your energy level can keep up with your creative imagination.

I hope this helps you to find the cause of your low creative energy. Maybe during the process of reading, it gave you some ideas on how to gain back your motivation and increase your energy level.


How do you recognize when your creative energy is low? What has worked for you?


  1. Lynne M. Spreen

    I thought you wrote, “If this proves true for you, fake the necessary steps to take care of yourself.” But that’s kinda true, too. Thanks for this Indy. I needed it.

    • indy

      Ha Ha – that IS true at times, Lynne. I’m glad you found it helpful and may your creative energy soar today ~

  2. Jill G. Hall

    Indy – These are all such good suggestions. I find checking in with my body, nature walks and baby steps are helpful too. If I’m really distracted but am on a deadline and need to get something done I set a time and don’t allow myself to do anything but that.

    • indy

      Thanks, Jill. I like your timer idea. I remember how we used that method when I joined your writing retreats at the ranch (which I miss so much!), and I know it was very effective at that time. I should make myself do it at home. Thanks for the reminder ~ :0)

  3. Sherrey Meyer

    Definitely a good reminder at this time of year. And something I needed at the tail end of my recovery. Thanks, Indy!

    • indy

      I’m so glad you found it helpful, Sherry. AND that you are at the tail end of recovery! Thanks for taking time to comment. :0)


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