Sometimes the best thing you can do for your writing endeavors is to take a break and focus on something else. Just because you’re not in your chair hammering out words doesn’t mean your brain isn’t hard at work.
In fact, your brain needs this non-writing time to sort out all your problems. I mean, how often do you think up a great comeback long after the opportunity has passed? It’s like that, except you can actually use your ideas.
Not only will these non-writing activities boost your creativity, they’ll help you practice self-care, which is as vital as eating, sleeping, and breathing.
1. Color (or paint or draw)
Get artistic! No matter how old you are, coloring is an uncomplicated and satisfying activity. For me, coloring serves as a way to clear my brain of unwanted or negative thoughts. When I’m finished, I have something to hang on the refrigerator, and I’m refreshed enough to take on my next writing problem (or whatever life throws at me).
2. Clean your space
I dare you to clean even if you feel comfortable with your clutter. After taking Heather Scott’s 30-day clutter clearing challenge (sadly no longer available), I realized that I’d become blind to clutter—and the anxiety it caused. Having a clean space can boost your productivity, and the act of cleaning can be soothing.
I totally recommend Heather’s challenge, by the way. My desk used to be perpetually messy, no matter how often I cleaned it. Now it’s stayed clear for a month (and still going).
3. Go for a walk (or bike ride)
True story, I thought about this post on a walk. The name, The Path of Least Revision, was born on a walk. Good ideas (and probably some bad ones too) happen when you exercise. Get outside, enjoy nature, and get your creative side going.
Though you can certainly run, too, I always find my mind has less wandering inclination and time when I do so. When I want to boost my creativity (versus train for a 5k), I’ll take a walk.
4. Get on the yoga mat
Can yoga unleash your creativity? A quick search for “yoga for creativity” on YouTube shows the answer is, “YES.” And as long as you’re practicing yoga, incorporate stretches to counteract all that sitting at the computer, too.
Whether you follow a recipe or make it up as you go along, cooking is creative. (You literally create something.) Plus, in some cases, it also gives your brain time to wander. And you should never, ever write hungry.
6. Take a trip
Both driving in the car and riding public transportation always give my brain time to wander (though not too much if I’m driving) and contemplate my writing projects. Whether it’s running errands or my weekly sojourn into Minneapolis, I often find myself working on my projects.
But you can travel, too. Seeing new places, meeting (or observing) new people, and switching up your surroundings also boost your creativity. You never know when you’ll see or experience something you can write about.
7. Talk with a friend
Better put: bounce ideas off someone. They’ll provide a perspective you hadn’t considered before, or they’ll point out potential issues you can address before they have a chance to materialize in your writing. Or maybe they’ll just tell you a story that sparks your imagination.
Bonus: If you want to score points with your significant other and work on your writing project, back rubs do nicely.
What non-writing activity do you enjoy?