Take time out from writing to relax
Writing is not only a lonely occupation, it can be exhausting. Sitting at the keyboard for many hours each day is not only mentally draining, it can actually be physically demanding.After four or five hours of being on the creative edge, the body screams for a change of some kind.
I find that long writing sessions can actually be counter productive. The ability to continue being creative wanes and the brain starts to switch off. As an aside, I find that managing my diabetes is quite a challenge while writing as I can easily get very drowsy.
Sometimes I just need to take a complete break and have nap – just like my friends at my local zoo shown in the photos on this post. Often a 20 minute nap refreshes me enough to keep on going for several more hours.
Ideas to help you relax
I did a little brainstorming and came up with a few ideas on how you could take a break from writing and refresh the creative juices. Here’s my list:
- Take a nap – but not too long.
- Go for a walk. The fresh air and exercise will do you good.
- Visit the local river, lake, park or lookout and let the environment inspire you afresh.
- Meet a friend for coffee.
- Make a cup of tea or mug of coffee and sit in the garden and let the plants inspire you.
- Read an inspiring book.
- Weed the garden.
- Water the lawn or your pot plants.
- Watch the birds going about their daily activities.
- Take some photos of flowers in your garden.
- Go for a bicycle ride.
- Have a light snack.
- Listen to your favourite music and let it inspire you.
- Sit in the sun and relax while you soak up some vitamin D.
- Go for a swim, visit the gym or just do some simple exercises to get the blood flowing to your brain.
I hope some of these ideas help you, because most of them have helped me on many occasions.
Reader activity: What do you do to relax during long writing sessions? Please share them via the comments. Thanks.
One last hint: get back to writing!
Sickness has overtaken me
I haven’t posted much here in recent weeks. I have been very sick with a debilitating bout of bronchitis. It started last month – four and a half weeks ago and is still lingering around like an unwelcome bad smell. I feel – and hope – that I am over the worst of it and can get back to writing more posts here and on my other sites, Trevor’s Birding and Trevor’s Travels.
Adding to my woes is the fact that we have had above average rainfall, both here in Murray Bridge, South Australia, and during our stay with family in Sydney a month ago. It has meant that I haven’t been about to get out and do some of the things I like doing, like birding and gardening. Goodness, I was so sick I did not even do a great deal of reading.
It has also meant that I have not made any progress on editing and submitting poems and short stories to magazines and competitions. I also have more editing to do on several larger novel length projects I have waiting in the wings.
I am now hopeful that as my health improves I will be able to get to these projects and see some fruit for my labours. During this enforced time of recuperation I have just had to let go of my desire to be writing long hours each day and concentrate on getting better. I guess many writers experience seasons of non-productivity. Looking through my calendar I can see that the next few months could well be one of my more productive periods.
What is hindering you from writing?
The man shown in the photo above is an inspiration to me – and should be to everyone. While visiting Addis Ababa in Ethiopia a few years ago – our daughter was teaching there – we had the chance to visit the leprosy medical facility. We particularly wanted to support the residents by purchasing items from their craft shop. Some of the people there do amazing things, often with the hindrance of fingers missing.
This man was happily weaving a floor mat. He was full of smiles – communicating his cheerful attitude to us even though we couldn’t speak each others’ languages. The most amazing thing however, was that this positive attitude was demonstrated despite having only short stubs for fingers and thumbs. All of them. Not one was fully functional.
This man continued happily with his work, content with his lot despite the hindrance.
What a lesson for me – and many others, I’m sure.
Too often I grumble that I can’t do my writing because it’s too hot, or too cold, or I’m not well or the chair is uncomfortable or no editor will like my story or poem. Too often I allow really lame excuses get in the way of what I believe God wants me to do: write.
What hinders you from writing? Is it a real problem – or just an excuse? If it’s a problem – deal with it or get help. If it’s an excuse… well, I think we all know how to deal with that!
Read more about our visit to the leprosy facility on Trevor’s Travels here.
I’m not as smart as I thought I was
Confession time: I thought I was smarter than that!
What brought me to this startling conclusion?
About three months ago I replaced my old mobile phone. When I say old, you’d better believe it. It was nearly 20 years old and I was reluctant to get rid of it because I was on a very cheap plan. I mean, how many phone companies offer a $10 per month plan these days? I went into a local well known phone company’s retail outlet and they looked up details of my plan. The manager – all of 20 years of age – wasn’t probably even born when my old phone was being made. I’ve never seen a plan THAT old, he quipped. Made me feel positively ancient, like I’d borrowed it from Moses or Noah. Perhaps Methuselah.
I then bought a new, you beaut, all the bells and whistles smart phone. Beam me into the 21st century, Scottie. (Mmmm.. that illustration is getting a little old too.) Cost me a small fortune, it did. But I was cunning – I did the modern thing and got a good bargain by buying it online. Thoroughly modern me. It arrived in the mail a few days later, I inserted the new SIM card – boy, had I got a good deal on the plan from my internet provider – and went to charge the battery.
I waited, and waited, and waited. It wasn’t charging. All weekend. That’s not right, I thought. Eventually a friend discovered that I hadn’t put the back cover on properly. Doh. He said I mustn’t have held my tongue right.
That changed everything. All systems go. So over the next month or so I was on a very steep learning curve, adapting to using the new device. Remember the ‘good old days’ when phones made and received phone calls? I discovered that this new ‘phone’ did so much more than that. Photos, SMS, internet access, games, email, Facebook, Twitter… and that’s just for starters.
In fact, I suspect that I’m only using about 5% of its potential. There are so many icons I afraid to press – just in case it does something very odd – or expensive. In fact, the phone is so smart it does things without me giving it permission. That’s scary and just a tad worrying.
Despite all the fancy bells and whistles, I can still make and receive phone calls.
It is so satisfying that some things remain the same – in a rapidly changing world.
Writing prompt – dealing with illness
Most people suffer from a variety of illnesses during their lives. I’ve certainly had my fair share of them over the last twenty years especially. Some people experience multiple illnesses and at different stages of life. Other people have a severe disability of some sort. Coping with prolonged illness or a lifelong disability can have many challenges, disappointments and frustrations.
On our visit to Ethiopia a few years ago we took the opportunity to visit the craft shop in the grounds of the leprosy hospital. All the craft work on sale was produced by leprosy victims as a part of their therapy and rehabilitation. These ladies in particular were proud to show off their wonderful handiwork. I wrote about our visit here on my travel site.
How do you cope with illness? Or a disability?
- Write about a time you were very ill.
- Write about caring for a loved one with a serious illness.
- Write about how you would cope with a disability?
- Write about a friend or family member suffering a severe illness.
- Imagine dying from a serious illness. Write your own eulogy or obituary.