Post-Creative Lassitude

John Scalzi

The writing on the new novel is coming along; it needs to be soon(ish) and now that I’m actually home from promoting The Kaiju Preservation Society, making progress on it is moving along more efficiently, which is nice. I’m in the zone where I will write a chapter (more or less) and then, when I’m done, enter a state of pleasant mental lassitude, in which my brain tells me I’m done seriously thinking for the day, but also looks forward to what I’ll be writing the next day and fiddles a little bit, in a very casual way with the detail. What that means is that when I start writing tomorrow, a lot of what I’ll write has been pre-gamed, as it were. It makes the process of writing more congenial than it might be otherwise.

The flip side is that I don’t have much brain to expend on other matters at the moment, like, you know (gestures at the world). I do have enough creative energy to manipulate flowers in Photoshop (see picture above), but kind of just barely.

This is not a bad thing! I’m prioritizing where I’m putting my energy, and it’s on the stuff that I enjoy, and that pays my bills. It would be nice to have a little more energy, and I’m going to work on that (exercising more will help), but in the meantime, I’m doing all right with where things are right now.

How are you today?

— JS

14 Comments on “Post-Creative Lassitude”

  1. John, I’ve been going over your old articles about writing, and they are fueling my fantasy of making a shekel or two. No worries, I’ve got a VERY boring job, so am relatively safe, if anyone is safe in this timeline.

    Just wanted to thank you for the inspiration and all the practical advice. (i.e., keepin’ the day job.)

  2. I’m doing fine, thanks for asking. Your pre-game comment struck me, as when I worked in IT I used to do that also. Wrap up the days work but leave time too look into the next day’s tasks. I found it made the next morning kick off more smoothly as I’d also pre-gamed it. I wonder how many others do this?

    Been retired a few years now and funny enough, I am not spending all my free time reading!? What’s up with that? Well, just returned from a 2 week visit from helping my parents and while I slowly wind down my current book and I pre-game my next by looking at the TBR bookcase… holy heck, I have a lot of your titles still to get to.

    Please keep writing, don’t slow down, I’m coming, I swear it! Don’t hang back for me, I’ll accelerate up to you. Ahh, goals…

  3. I am well today, thank you for asking – a bit glassy-eyed after a 10-hour workday (first day back after a week off), but otherwise well.

    While cost accounting seems as though it is about as far from a creative process like writing as it’s possible to get, I still find that I experience a similar feeling to what you describe after a busy and productive day. That is especially true on days that throw me a curveball in the form of a puzzle I haven’t encountered before, as happened today. I get thoroughly engrossed in researching and analyzing it, and upon coming up for air, am astounded to realize that I’ve been working for seven solid hours without a break.

    Creativity in accounting is definitely frowned upon (it’s how we wound up with Enron), so I would never equate my work to yours, but I definitely recognize that sense of good tiredness, the brain taking a break after a period of intense activity. I am really glad you are deriving enough satisfaction from your work to get to that point each day, and I look forward to enjoying the result.

  4. You’ve got a lot going on and seem to not have any problems juggling. I’m good today, smoking a great cigar celebrating 71 trips around the Sun. Here’s to a few more, at the very least.

    I’ve enjoyed all of your work that I’ve read. If you can get me to invest in one or more characters, I’m hooked.

  5. Dear John,

    Curiously, I have much the same thing going on, perhaps as seen in a fun-house mirror.

    I just returned from a major road trip around the American Southwest with two sweeties. A total of 19 days, 7,302 km, 1,563 kWhr, and 1,295 photographs.

    1,295! I’m in a state of post-trip/post-creative lassitude. Except… I have a brand-new book project, an autobiography this time. No, not mine — one of those “as told to” books. Which will be more-or-less a piece of cake, because nonfiction is my bread-and-butter. Unlike fiction I don’t have to make shit up, I just have to monologue engagingly.

    This I can do!

    Consequently I’m in the state of both new-book enthusiasm and post-creative lassitude at the same time, with the realization that both will fade. But meanwhile I’m taking advantage of the enthusiasm to jump into the prep writing… and taking a few naps.

    pax, Ctein

    {Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon dictate in training!}
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery
    — Digital Restorations

  6. I like this kind of post. You sound like a really nice, normal human being.

    Because you asked, I’m headed to Ohio on Thursday for a long overdue visit with my daughter.

    You keep writing, I’ll keep listening. Keep signing books for the Lebanon, Ohio library. That’s where I first found you in Agent to the Stars.

    Thanks, Ann

  7. Post-overtime lassitude here; a co-worker’s preschooler caught Covid (too young for vaccine), so I’ve been putting in 11 1/2 hour work days while she’s been taking care of her kid. But the kid’s recovered, so tomorrow I can sleep in to a limited extent.

  8. I started a new (writing!) job, which is both intellectually stimulating and draining of my thinky-think abilities. I did the math earlier, and I’m producing about 10,000 words a week of intensely technical information on deadlines that are, on average, 48 hours apart. It’s roughly 3,600 words per project, for three projects a week.

    Because of this post, I had to look up what “lassitude” meant. Now I realize that it’s how I felt this past weekend, and I’m grateful for the vocabulary that helps me describe my mental situation.

  9. Good post John. I’m doing well, thank you. I find that I have become lazy, perhaps because I can and events have sapped energy. I don’t like it, I want to accomplish things. Which I eventually do. But it is too easy to put things off.

    Maybe it is because I am older (76) and retired. But I don’t like that excuse. I need to write some more stories and build some some more guitars. I need a good ass kicking.

  10. It sounds like you’re doing well. I eagerly await your next book. They keep me from thinking of my condition.

    Thanks for asking, sir. Hubby & Dad will be here in the nursing home early so PT can show them how to transfer me to the car. This is a sign that I will be discharged from the nursing home by the end of the month. Yahoo! Admittedly, the food is good and plentiful, and the TV isn’t bad. There is a resident who calls out at all hours, and even wanders into our room. I pretend to be napping. Dad even helped with that today. “She’s asleep. We’re just waiting for her to wake up.” It’s better than being rude.

    We have an Asian minimart that has the sort of thing TokyoTreat sends in its boxen. I will renew the Sakuraco again. I love the snacks and the housewares. We even ordered a couple of jelly collections from them. The Lucky Bag was loaded with goodies.

    Good luck with everything and stay safe, sir.

  11. Hey there! Flowing through the second draft of my screenplay and savoring these Characters and their Adventure… You know, photo manipulation uses an entirely different set of braincells from writing, unless, of course, you’re a visual thinker (thinks in images rather than language), then it’s… okay never mind… Nice flower.

  12. Thank you for letting me fangirl at the Gaithersburg signing, and for being so cool about it. The “fangirl” picture is one of my favorites ever taken and now the background on my phone. I hope I can learn to treat all people with such kindness and acceptance

%d bloggers like this: