Myra here. Is it just me, or has this been a ridiculously cold winter? Our area has already broken the record for snowiest February, and it’s only the second week! Anything below 40 and I am loathe to even stick my nose out the door. And lately, when the streets are slushy with snow and ice and they’re forecasting single-digit temps, I’m staying home and staying warm.
Now you’d think my self-imposed “house arrest” would leave me no excuse for not writing. True, the word count is adding up, often 1500-2500 words on a good day. But I can only write for four or five hours before the old brain cells need some rest and refueling.
The thing is, when I reach the point that I can’t write another word, I know I’m going to feel guilty if I don’t get to work on something writing-related. So I’ve come up with a list of 10 suggestions for what to do when it’s snowin’ and blowin’, you have no idea what comes next in your wip, and all you want to do is curl up in front of a roaring fire and sip hot cocoa.
- Organize your reference and craft books by subject matter and then by title or author.
- Clean out your e-mail inbox and file all your “keeper” sent and received messages.
- Clean off and reorganize your workspace.
- Update your Twitter and/or Facebook status with something “writerly,” and see what writing colleagues and publishing professionals are posting about.
- Catch up on magazines, newsletters, and blogs about the publishing business.
- Review and organize your notes from the last conference you attended.
- Listen to a conference workshop recording.
- Reread a favorite craft book.
- Watch and analyze a classic movie for plot, characterization, foreshadowing, etc.
- Write a blog post about what to do when the creative juices run dry.
Of course, there comes a time when you don’t even have enough brain power for any of the above. That’s when you need to bring out the big guns to defeat writer’s ennui:
- Play endless games of computer Solitaire.
- Browse for silly YouTube videos and forward them to your friends. All your friends.
- Do as many crunches as you can on an exercise ball.
- Challenge a family member to a Wii bowling match.
- Soak in a hot bubble bath while reading an escapist novel.
- Shop for new games and apps for your smartphone.
- Plan a week’s worth of dinner menus and send your spouse to the supermarket with a detailed grocery list. Don’t complain if he/she brings back the wrong item or phones you 16 times to ask for clarification.
- Iron something, even if it doesn’t need it, while watching sappy movies on TV.
- Sit in front of the bathroom mirror and try new hairstyles.
- Give yourself a mani-pedi.
Your turn. What are your favorite wintertime non-writing writing activities? When you need to get away from writing entirely, how do you recharge?
Caveat: The suggestions contained in this post are not carte blanche for avoiding writing entirely! If you ever want to write “the end,” you’ve got to regularly plant your seat in the chair and your fingers on the keyboard. Every manuscript is completed one word at a time, so just keep writing!
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