I've been in a slump too, for the last few days. The combination of an emotional hit which has left me a bit discombobulated and hitting a block in the development of my novel has left me a bit in limbo. 'Tinkered, faffed and written sludge' is a brilliant description of that feeling!
Georgina's method of putting your mind somewhere completely 'other' works, I think. Just trying to forget the 'work' aspect of creation. Forgetting what you feel you have to write.
In fact, yesterday, after I'd written the same few paragraphs over and over again, and each time fallen even more short of what I wanted them to say, I put the whole thing aside and decided to clear out some old box files in the office. One of them was full of old photos going back decades, random and unsorted. Among them was a 'Klick Photopoint' envelope (remember them?) marked 'Corfu 2006' - pictures of a holiday I went on with my best friends in the days when such a thing was possible!
Flicking through them, and particularly the views of Corcyra, where we'd stayed, an idea crystallised. Out of nowhere. From a vague, elusive sense memory of age and heat and sunlight. And I wrote a short, short story (less than a thousand words - just a vignette really) almost without thinking about it. Nothing to do with the novel. Nothing even close to what I should be writing or what I wanted to write. Just a dreamy stream of consciousness. It took about two hours perhaps.
And I love it. It made me cry a little (my emotions are a bit close to the surface at the moment). It'll never be published. It'll probably never be read by more than a few people. But I love it. It makes me really happy and a bit sad at the same time. And the fact that it didn't exist until I dreamed it made me feel like a proper writer. It made me fall in love with writing again.
I probably won't write today. Certainly not anything for the dreaded novel. But tomorrow, I'll remember that little vignette and how it made me feel, and I'll start again.
I hope that the exhaustion turns to excitement again soon, Holly, and you find your love for what you're writing again. It's there, waiting, on the periphery of your mind's eye, mischievously waiting for your attention to move elsewhere before showing itself.