Today I’m starting a new series of blog posts, tentatively titled ‘You Too?’ In these posts I’ll pose a question that relates to a common writing problem and leave it to you, the reader, to answer it.
The aim is to get us all talking about how we each overcome the difficulties of a creative writing life. It’s a time to share our tips on how we keep ourselves creatively active.
Today’s question is: What Do You Do on Non-Writing Days?
While a regular writing routine is very important and writing every day is ideal, we all face days when we don’t want to write.
For whatever reason there’s something holding us back. Perhaps it’s fatigue. Perhaps it’s a particularly stressful day.
So the question is, what do you do on those days?
- Do you throw your hands up in the air, figuring this just isn’t your day and you’ll try again tomorrow?
- Do you push yourself through, trying to write at least a few words to keep up your rhythm?
- Do you replace your writing time with a different creative activity? (E.g. painting, drawing, origami?)
- Do you grab a book and spend your time reading instead?
I’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you do?
February 25, 2014 at 7:34 pm
I’ve had too many non-writing days lately, but I always try to do something to keep my hand in. Reading, sketching room designs (I’m terrible) and even playing on Sims give my brain a break from writing but still keep me thinking about creating.
February 25, 2014 at 8:38 pm
I love your logic behind playing Sims! I certainly hope it’s working for you. 🙂
February 26, 2014 at 12:08 am
I try to do something creative, read something to prime the mental pump. And of course, my mind keeps rolling my plot around, pushing me to find a way back into productive mode.
February 26, 2014 at 9:36 am
Yes, I find reading primes my mental pump too! I feel if I’m not able to give out words, then perhaps I need to take in some words first.
February 26, 2014 at 12:23 am
Love this idea for a series, Jessica! I love the days when the words flow so abundantly and I’m happily transported for hours on end into that zone where one doesn’t have a sense of time passing. Unfortunately those days are few and far between! Lately when the writing isn’t happening, I’ve been quilting in the late afternoons and evenings. I just completed an art quilt wall hanging – an abstract landscape piece of my favourite beach. It was a good creative and technical challenge (I’m only a confident beginner really) and cathartic. In desperation during this horrendous, long winter we are having came the inspiration “if I can’t get to the ocean and beach, the ocean and beach can come to me.”
February 26, 2014 at 9:37 am
Thanks for your support, Carole. 🙂
Your quilt sounds lovely! Is there a photograph of it somewhere on your blog where we could take a peek?
February 28, 2014 at 10:45 am
Usually when I’m not writing, I’m outlining. But I’m always creating.
February 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm
That’s a very good use of time. Sometimes if I’m working on a complicated story, I find I can’t write and outline on the same day – therefore outlining days become non-writing days. Do you find something similar?
March 1, 2014 at 9:08 am
I was reading P.L. Travers personal creativity. Apparently she was a seat of the pants writer. Though it makes me wonder how long a story brewed in her head before it went to paper.
Like even when I don’t outline, I talk with my muse so to speak, and let it sort of talk to me in it’s sing song way of conversation. In a sense one has to learn to speak it’s language.
Also I semi-outline. Or only outline the plot, but let my muse imagine in a sing song way how I go about the plot.
March 2, 2014 at 5:46 pm
It’s so important to learn to speak your Creativity/Muse’s language. How interesting that yours speaks in a sing song way. 🙂 Thanks for sharing.
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March 24, 2014 at 3:28 am
I find non-writing days quite stressful. The whole time, I can hear that internal critical voice berating me for doing everything except writing! I’ve only just noticed lately that I do this, and I’m starting to realise it’s probably a far more pleasant way to live, to just get the writing done 🙂
March 24, 2014 at 8:44 am
Thanks so much for your comment, Michelle, and for your great post on the subject: http://loststoryfound.com/2014/03/23/dont-write-be-happy-or-how-to-silence-the-inner-critic/
I find it so interesting that your Inner Critic takes issue with you *not* writing. I hadn’t really explored that aspect of an Inner Critic before, but I’m sure it’s something most writers (including myself) face.
We end up ‘shoulding’ ourselves into writing, which means if we’re writing we feel miserable and if we’re not writing we’re still feeling miserable. No fun for anyone.
Thanks again for adding your valuable thoughts to the discussion!
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