Half the time, I don’t even like writing. There are points in a project–or sometimes when I’m just in a despicable mood–when the very last thing on earth I want to do is write. I hate it, then. So much work and stress and pressure to get it perfect…Blech. Not so much a reason for living as a reason for curling into a little ball of agony under the desk. Luckily, you don’t actually have to be writing to be doing something productive for your project. Though the actual productivity factor of some of my solutions is…debatable…sometimes you just need a break. And, hey, if it just happens to have a viable excuse to go with said break, then so much the better!
Yes, I’m aware this is covered in all the writing books. But it’s actually true (unlike most of the drivel I’ve sifted through). Outside of expanding your horizons and providing you with heaps of new research information, just reading a book can spark an inferno of new ideas. Even one that fell pitifully short of “mediocre” status. I presume everybody else has noticed how weird that is? When you’re just reading along and a word or a phrase or thought strikes you just right and pow! There’s a new idea. It’s the weirdest feeling…
Wander around a park, mall, or anywhere else typically inhabited by a decent cross-section of humanity. Trust me, you will see something photo-and-probably-novel worthy. And as an added bonus, if you happen to see someone who totally matches the description of the Jane Protagonist that’s sitting in your head, you get to test out your ninja skills while attempting to get a good stalker photo. Just think of all the lovely writing experience you’re getting (and hey, if you get arrested as a stalker, you can then use the description of what it’s like to be in jail…).
Also, if you happen to have a museum or historical site in the area and if it corresponds to your story’s time-period, take your camera there, too. Most of them allow non-flash photography, and it’s extraordinarily handy to be able to have photos of the details that you find interesting on hand when you need them.
Admittedly, I have’t played around with this one much since I was little, but I decided to pick it back again a few days ago. *sighs* It’s what happens when you walk into Michael’s around back-to-school time and see all the paints, easels, canvas, a billion sizes of brushes…It flung a cravin’ on me, as my Southern friends would say. So now I’ve got a partially finished painting of London sitting on my desk and art supplies everywhere. But I’ve found that it’s a nice, calming past-time that supposedly stimulates your creativity. Not to mention that it’s fun. And if you’re a pathetic artist, you can just burn your work afterwards, so you don’t have to show anyone. Paint and pyrotechnics…what’s more relaxing than that? 😉
Okay, this one is sort of like sky-diving. It can either be really good or really, really, really bad, all depending on you. If you goof off in the right places, it can actually be beneficial. Again, there’s a lot of research material, you can find things to kick off new ideas, and you can post some of that brilliant art from numbers 2 and 3 (unless you burned it). Unless you get stuck on Facebook or Twitter, neither of which is typically a gold mine of help for writers. Though, if any of you have found something actually useful on there, let me know…Maybe then I can justify my wasted hours.
Just scrolling through the day’s news can expose you to a lot of interesting–and possibly usable–things. Or go to Memrise and actually learn those ten languages your hero is fluent in. Maybe learn a few new synonyms on Dictionary.com. There’s always something to do.
5. I can’t bear to say it…
…*mumble* reality tv. Not the stupid, melodramatic stuff! No, no–think Mythbusters. Think I (Almost) Got Away With It. Junkyard Wars. American Pickers (there’s a surprising amount of history in there between creepy old hoarders). Truth–even if it’s slightly scripted–is stranger than fiction, right? Particularly on the true-crime shows. *shudders* And, when it comes to Mythbusters, very little cures a case of the blahs (writing or otherwise) like a good slow-mo explosion.
And by the way, if anyone insinuates that by telling you to watch reality tv I meant Keeping Up With The Kardashians, I will find you and I will find an astoundingly slow, creative, and painful way to make you pay.