Writers write, sure, but you can’t be writing all the time. Take a break once in a while!
Here are a bunch of things you can do instead that will have you coming back to your desk reinvigorated and full of ideas.
- Read a book you love. Pay attention to what makes you love it. Is it the author’s word choice? The suspense? The rhythm?
- Read something you’ve never read before: new author, new genre, whatever.
- Play with a child (or a bunch of children)
- Go for a walk
- Take a shower
- Learn a new skill or hobby (who knows, maybe one of your future characters will be obsessed with bird-watching?)
- Try another form of art (drawing, making music, dancing, vlogging, photography, etc.)
- Help a friend edit his or her written work
- Watch a movie or tv show that everyone is raving about. How does it work? Why is it so popular?
- Play with an animal (ex. a litter of puppies)
- Go see a play or other cultural event.
- Take a walk at night (you know, if it’s safe to do that where you live)–everything feels and looks different in the dark.
- Go to a museum
- Go to the art and photography section of the library. Check out a stack of books with images that intrigue you or make you feel something.
- Exercise: run, swim, hula hoop, hit a tennis ball, play croquet, play laser tag, etc.
- Catch up with a friend you haven’t talked to in a while
- Travel somewhere new
- Do something that terrifies you: go skydiving, or just go to the top floor of a tall building and look out the window.
- Read a newspaper. Or a magazine (Lots of story fodder in there).
- Learn a new language
- Watch TED talks or listen to online lectures and podcasts
- Introduce yourself to someone new
- Do the laundry
- Volunteer, preferably in a capacity in which you get to interact face-to-face with the people you’re helping
- Read or watch something that you don’t agree with. Something that makes you angry.
- Learn about the publishing industry
- Sit outside in nature
- Go grocery shopping, or run some other mindless errand
- Do something you’ve never done before
- Re-outline your work in progress (Okay, this is kind of still writing, but it’s also kind of not. And it can be super helpful!)
- Really listen to what people are saying to you, and how they’re saying it, without planning what you’re going to say next
- Make a collage of visual inspiration, either about your work-in-progress or about writing in general
- Learn to tell a new joke
- Read another book. Seriously, this will help like nothing else.
The moral of the story: almost everything will help you become a better writer, so long as you do it mindfully. Part of being a writer is practicing writing, but it’s also important to go out and experience the world! Observe and catalog everything.
Note: These things make great, enjoyable breaks, but they also double as procrastination tools. Use them wisely.