As writers we all love working on our books/poems/stories/creations, but that doesn’t mean we always feel like writing. I would argue the time I spend not writing is when I get the most important bits of work done. When I’m not writing, I’m having imaginary conversations with my characters to help me understand them better and daydreaming pieces of their world that will likely never end up in this or any other works.
So for those times you don’t feel like writing, here are 5 things you can do and why you should do them:
- Make a Playlist – This one certainly isn’t a secret. I remember way back when I was reading the House of Night books as they were coming out P.C. Cast posted a soundtrack or maybe it was just the one song that she’d listened to while writing one of the many books in the series. That song was “World Awaits” and it’s still in my music library. Point is, music can really set a mood! Make a playlist for the entire work, for just one character, or just one scene/chapter/section. Whatever will help you the most at that moment, do that. I personally have a playlist for the whole book, for the three major sections, and for the main character that changes semi-regularly as she evolves.
- Take a shower – We all know how et thoughts are the best thoughts. Hop in the shower with your work on your mind and see what magic happens as the water falls. Double points if you take the new playlist you made and scream sing to the top of your lungs until you are you character.
- Read – Again, not a surprise. Reading is how writers hone their craft. Read within your genre and outside of your genre. Read old favorites and debuts. Read articles on writing and story stories and stand alones and series. Read like a writer. Make it useful research.
- Sketch/Draw/Design – I am in no way an artist. I can’t draw or paint and can barely color in the lines. But I’ve very crudely sketched it emblems for various groups in my story and maps of different settings. It’s extremely useful for me to sketch it out even if it will never see the light of day! When I don’t feel like looking at my own sad little drawings, I’ve been known to go online to one of the “interior designer” apps and played around with it. My main character’s room was one that was a lot of fun to play with in an app. Even if neither of these make sense for you, I’ve heard authors rave about using Pinterest for mood boards and design ideas. Whatever you’re style, I think maps and layouts are extremely useful for consistency throughout the writing process and can save you a lot of time in edits!
- Walk Away – Maybe your characters don’t want to play or you have other non-writing things on your mind. That’s okay. Sometimes you just have to let yourself walk away from it. Maybe you have the luxury of walking away for days or weeks or months, or maybe you’re on a deadline and can only walk away for an hour. Whatever you need and can afford, let yourself have it. Bonus points if you get outside for some fresh air. Stress is very seldom beneficial to the creative process! Be okay with taking a break and accepting that you can’t be in the zone all the time.