Since I’m a writer, it should come as no surprise that I can come up with numerous ingenious way to do anything but write! Some days, the words just don’t flow, so here’s some ideas on how to fill your time and even spark a little creativity!
Clean the house! I know – not a favorite chore, but sometimes the only way I get any dusting done. If you’re stuck, you can fold a load of laundry, sweep a room, wipe down a countertop. The repetitive motion frees your brain up for free association which can lead to the breakthrough you’ve been looking for, not to mention save embarrassment if someone drops by unexpectedly!
Empty a closet! I recommend this with hesitation because it can so easily get out-of-control, but sometimes you need that sense of accomplishment that comes with finally unearthing your winter clothes or your 2011 tax receipts. And who knows? You may find something dark and dangerous to write about.
Get moving! With exercise comes increased blood flow which can lead to more oxygen in the brain, always a good thing. Working out to music is a bonus because you can feel happy or sad which channels right into your writing. Just make sure you don’t over do it and injure yourself because moaning and pain are tough emotions to sell.
Have a chat! Call up a person who loves to talk or the friend you haven’t seen in a while. Heck, take them out for coffee. You’ve got time. Then listen to the conversation. Who knows what good gossip you might uncover?
Go window-shopping! I don’t recommend actual shopping as that can get expensive, but like any good marketer, writers need to check in bookstores, furniture stores, clothing stores, shoes stores to stay current. If you see the trends, you can report them!
Take a nap! Turns out it’s perfectly normal for your body to need a little rest in the afternoon with a natural circadian rhythm. Under stress, say like being in space or stuck on your next chapter, you might need polyphasic sleep – or regular naps!
So next time you’re stuck, don’t beat yourself up. Find a change of pace that works for you and see if you don’t end up changing your story as well!
BTW – these drawings are by Charles Keene who drew much of life in the last half of the 19th century for Punch magazine.