Yesterday’s blog post was about writing discipline. Today’s post is about what you do when you’re not writing. It is important to feed your writing mind by learning about new things, having adventures and generally exploring the world.
It is also ok to take a break from writing. We all know that we are better editors when we look at a piece of writing with “fresh eyes.” By turning away from something for a while, we can return to it with a fresh – and less attached – perspective.
When I was advising undergraduate creative writing majors, I would encourage them to take a broad selection of classes in addition to their creative writing classes. Not only is it important to have a topic to write about, but you’ll see the world differently afterwards.
Many writers I know have rituals before they write. This one likes to go to a coffee shop, that one likes to go for a run first. I find that cooking is often a great pre-writing activity (of course, going to the gym would probably be healthier.) By using my hands and turning away from the computer screen, my brain has a moment to relax and wander. I allow myself to think about different things in new ways. I often find myself jotting down notes for later – always later when something is boiling on the stove! – and surprising myself.
What do you do when you aren’t writing or are just about to write?