Recharging Your Writing/Revising Batteries
Here’s the thing about writing as a full-time job: it never really ends.
I love waking up every day excited to work. I love it so much, I’ve been writing all day, all night, and almost every weekend. And when I’m doing other things, like eating, showering, or (gasp!) being social, I’m feeling antsy and guilty about not writing.
But that’s a recipe for burnout, right? And today the burnout hit. I’m currently revising my fantasy, which is super, super fun because of the world-building and character-expanding that I get to do. But as excited as I was to rewrite my chapter, I found when I sat down that I felt… tired. Restless. Stuck.
So I gave myself permission to take the rest of the day off, seeing as I haven’t really done that in weeks. I told myself that other typical full-time jobs don’t require working around the clock, nights and weekends included. Plus, it’s healthy to get away from the manuscript.
I still feel a tiny bit guilty, but it’s not like I need to be in front of the computer to be working.
I can be productive and recharge the creative juices in other ways:
- I can work out. For some reason, I make a lot of breakthroughs at the gym. I’ll be on the elliptical or running on the track, listening to inspiring music, and whatever plot problem’s been bugging me suddenly becomes clear. I really think getting up and moving around helps my writer brain work in different ways.
- I can read a book. I like to keep a variety of books on my nightstand, and switch it up whenever the mood strikes. Right now, I’m reading my agent sibling Laura Andersen’s BOLEYN KING, a stunning alternate history about what might have happened if Anne Boleyn had given Henry VIII a son. I’m switching it up with Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels trilogy, which is high fantasy, and am also rereading Maggie Stiefvater’s SCORPIO RACES. So just among those three alone, I have inspiration for court politics, epic storylines, and atmospheric settings. All of these are part of the book I’m currently writing.
- I can watch a movie. I just rewatched “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” for the inspiring fight scenes and the star-crossed love story. And I definitely jotted down some notes about random things like clothing, furniture, weaponry, and food! Counts as research!
- I can color. My lovely CP, Melody Marshall, bought me this coloring book as a little pick-me-up present. I haven’t colored in a long, long time, but I’m glad I’ve started again because it seems to have the same effect as working out. While my body’s focused on a repetitive motion, my brain is wandering and finding corners of my story I hadn’t considered before. It’s also calming and stress-relieving.
- Talk it out with a writer buddy. Even if I’m just telling my CP about a scene I wrote that day, their reaction and comments can be invaluable. And I can store them up for my next writing session.
- Blog. I know blogging isn’t so hot anymore, because hardly anyone keeps up with it, but I still love it! And I still get good traffic, even if most people lurk without commenting nowadays. (That’s fine, I don’t judge!) I find writing about writing to be relaxing and inspiring, and it usually does the trick.
What do you do when you’re recharging? What do you find to be restful and inspiring?