Creating a cycle of creative renewal

In my last post, I wrote about the cycle of creative burnout and how our creative inspiration becomes depleted when we push ourselves too hard and for too long.

I’m well acquainted with burnout; it’s a cultural norm in the field of urban design, my last “real” J.O.B. The writing profession has its own set of deadline-driven, high-stress work.

In the creative realms, including writing, artists are often seen as people who work in fits and starts, pulling all-nighters when they suddenly become inspired (or finally stop procrastinating).

I’ve allowed myself to enjoy the feeling of heroism that comes when I swoop in and save the day, meeting the deadline with just seconds to spare, but I’ve paid high prices for every single one of those dramatic experiences: apathy, resistance, confusion, grief, exhaustion, and lifelessness.

And truthfully, I STILL feel like I’m recovering from the bad choices I made working 60 and 70 hours a week more than 10 years ago.

Balance is a myth? I don’t think so.

It’s been said that balance is a myth and that passion should reign supreme.

I disagree.

Imbalance is an amateur’s gig.

Balance — an ongoing cycle of work and renewal without resorting to extremes — is part of not hitting bottom in the first place.

Balance is about staying sane.

It doesn’t mean that we don’t work hard and play hard at different times.

But it does mean keeping an eye on the greater whole and not bingeing on any one thing at any given time.

So what DOES a cycle of creative renewal look like?

The cycle of creative renewal

It looks like this:



Tell me what you think

I love to read your comments on the blog.




Coming Attractions

~> November 15th. Join my free Writer’s Chat on TOMORROW. Sign up here:

~> November 21st. Register by WEDNESDAY November 21st (a day early because of the U.S. Thanksgiving) for the next 4-week session of my “Just Do The Writing” Accountability Circle (starts November 26th). Build a solid habit of daily writing and finish all your writing projects:


What I'm Up To

~> Daily (back at it now that I’m more or less recovered from my wrist surgery). Working on rewriting my script, Progeny, with my mentor Chris Soth after finishing the ProSeries.* Working on “mini-movie 4!”

~> Reading: How to Train Your Dragon with my son. Back to watching Big Love.


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  1. Yes, definitely like the cycle of creative productivity and renewal. It makes so much sense, it’s natural, like the seasons, day and night, everything ebbs and flows in cycles…thanks Jenna! -K

  2. Deb Bradshaw says:

    Thank you for these wonderful articles, Jenna. (What a blessing!) They always seem to be exactly what I need to hear. This one is such a great reminder to me to keep that balance. :) With gratitude, Deb

  3. Aah – I LOVE the concept of ‘Creative Action’ and ‘Creative Renewal’

    I am most familiar with ‘Creative Paralysis’ though, which stems from lack of balance – loving your blog

    Thank you, Jenna #HUGS


    • Yes, creative paralysis is so painful. Creative renewal is a wonderful way to shift the energy around the paralysis, though of course that’s also tied to perfectionism and procrastination. My best antidote for creative paralysis is to do the smallest increment of writing or creative work that keeps the fear at quiet, which prevents the paralysis from kicking in. It has to be SUPER small though. The bigger the fear, the greater the paralysis, the smaller the action to sneak past it.

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