We all have bad days. I think it has something to do with being born human. Or just living on this planet.
Then there’s good days that turn into bad days.
I have a lot of those as a writer. I may wake up feeling fine and at peace with myself but as soon as I sit down and start to write, it happens. My joyous disposition turns sour when I take a long hard look at my words on the page or their lack there of.
Bad writing days have a way of becoming just plain old bad days.
Writers, can you relate?
As I was having one of those days recently where the muse just wouldn’t pay me a visit, I thought to myself “Shouldn’t I have a some kind of back up plan?”
I didn’t so I devised one.
Here is my 5 steps formula to make things better:
By the way these tips might help you even if you’re not a writer. (at least I hope so, ha!)
1- Write something.
While you may not be able to get your words down for a specific project doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Try working on some fiction if you’re stuck on an academic paper or an article.
Stuck on a story? Write an article on the mating rituals of bonobos if you want to. (I won’t judge)
The point is, give your mind something different to tackle.
If nothing works, journaling about your feelings is always a good option.
2- Don’t write
I have an uncanny liking for contradictions. What can I say?
In all seriousness, sometimes the best antidote to solving a writing problem is rest. The perfect word you’ve been looking for all day? It will probably come to you after that nap you’re avoiding taking.
3- Go to the library
This one is an no-brainer. If there is one thing all writers like, it’s most definitely books.
Being surrounded by thousands of them is always inspiring for me.
Choose a good novel or two and read. Time spent reading is never lost.
A change of scenery plus a good read is sometimes all it takes to get back on track. If not it’s at least a solid start.
4-Watch TV shows
If your mind is tired from all those pesky words, a good story packed full of suspense TV show or movie is a good option.
A story is a story no matter what form it takes.
Your brain will get some rest but your imagination will likely be sparked.
5-Draw, paint, sculpt, do scrap-booking…
I don’t know about you but as a writer I sometimes feel like I’ve pigeon-holed myself into one art form.
The truth is my creativity should be explored in other ways.
Even if it’s just 30 minutes coloring in one of those trendy adult coloring books, at least it’s something new.
Stimulating your brain with a hands-on activity is a sure way to quiet your thoughts. Especially that nagging writing critic living in your mind.
And if it doesn’t work, well you’ll have a nice piece of art to hang on your wall that you can look at next time you’re having a bout of writer’s block.
Bonus tip: Drinking excessive amounts of tea curled up in bed with your cat is always a good idea.
There you have it; all my tips and tricks to make a bad writing day, an at least tolerable day.
What do you do when the muse fails to visit you?
If you’re not a writer, how do you manage bad days?
I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments.
*Photo Credit: barbara w flickr Creative Commons 2.0