Friday, February 5, 2016


Writing can be a lonely business. You spend a lot of time in your own head, and sometimes it's hard to climb back out. And if you zoom in too close on your story, stepping away can help you see the entire forest again so you can find your way out. With that in mind, here are a few things I like to do when I don't seem to be making any progress and need a break from writing.

Build Something
I like model rockets a lot. I usually lose them, which is why I have to build so many, They have easy snap-together models or more time-consuming ones that require a little wood glue and patience. I've also recently discovered Metal Earth models, which are DIY steel sheet models. Everything's pre-cut, but you have to put it all together. I'm working on a steam locomotive model, and I have a TIE fighter waiting in the wings.

Take Myself on a Date
The solitude of writing isn't a problem for me. It's that I need to get out of the chair so I can let ideas percolate or just open my mind to new things. Some of my favorite places to take myself are: the local cafe, the park, the museum, or the movies. Getting out of the house is nice, but it also provides an opportunity to people watch for character traits or story ideas.

Revisit an Old Favorite
I usually watch TV while doing something else: making dinner, writing letters, knitting. So sometimes it's nice to be able to give my full attention to a movie or show I know I love. Or I take thirty minutes out of the day to reread one of my favorite books, just enough to remind myself why I love storytelling.

Go For a Long Walk
Any sort of exercise is helpful because it gets my blood and my creative juices pumping, but this is my favorite method. Not only does my dog get exercise, but it gives me an hour or two of freedom to think about the kinks in my story. Or to not think about my story at all. Sometimes the best ideaspop up when I'm focusing on something else entirely.

Find My Calm Center
Adult coloring books are all the rage now. I got a few for Christmas, and I have some "children's" coloring books, too. It really does calm me for the same reason building models does--my hands can be occupied without a ton of stress on my mind. Yoga, too, is a good way for me to de-stress, although I should practice it more often.

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