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!
Happy New Year to all my readers.
I hope the year 2011 brings you great joy, peace and at least some success with your writing. As I explained yesterday, one of my main goals for this year is to be published in a variety of forms: novels, picture books, articles, poems, short stories and whatever else life throws on to my path. I am also determined that this year will also see lots of submissions. If you are not submitting to publishers there is no way you can get published, so I’m determined that this is one area of my writing that needs to change.
Life is more than writing, of course, but over the last few years as I completed my MA Creative Writing degree there were some things which were neglected. As I said yesterday, I’m not really into making New Year’s resolutions. I’ve observed that most people don’t keep them however well intentioned they might be. I prefer setting firm goals with definite, achievable targets. My writing goals include a daily target for the number of hours spent on writing, the number of words written and the number of poems and stories submitted to publishers. I also have goals for other aspects of my life. These include:
- Reading: writers are readers so this is of utmost importance. This year I plan to read 100 titles (books and magazines; I read most of the magazines I get from cover to cover).
- Travel 1: I plan to visit my son and his family in Sydney.
- Travel 2: I plan to visit my daughter while she is teaching overseas.
- Exercise: I plan to exercise on average five times a week.
- Weight loss: I plan to lose 12kg this year through exercise and sensible eating.
- Hobby: I plan to go birding at least once a week, taking photos to share on my birding site.
I have many more smaller specific goals, such as cleaning out the garage, cleaning my office, gardening and so on. These are much more detailed plans and I won’t bore you with them here. I like making lists of things to do – and take pleasure in crossing them off when completed.
It looks like it is going to be another busy year.
I’d better plan to have times of relaxation too.