Is it better to force your way through finishing a project or is it better to take a break? Too often, writers, such as myself, feel the need to work through being tired to complete a chapter or book. However, I have found that when doing so, the content isn’t as rich as it could be when written with a rested mind and eyes. Though you may have a deadline, here are 5 ways to reawaken your creative juices and still get your project finished on time:
1. Cat nap! We have all heard it before but taking a cat nap is one of the best ways to give your mind a much-needed rest. Not only will you allow yourself to doze off, away from your characters and storyline, but you will also free your mind from thinking about anything for a brief period, thus allowing your creative ability to escape the cage that you have held it in far too long. Cat naps are great for writers and best done by setting your alarm clock for thirty minutes. All you have to do is close your eyes and rest. It doesn’t really matter if you actually sleep or not. What does matter is that you listen to your body and relax.
2. Take a walk around the neighborhood! Taking a walk, a casual stroll without an agenda, is almost as good as a cat nap. Not only will you produce endorphins to replenish your brain and heighten your creative juices, but you will also step out of your writing environment and escape feeling burdened by your project. Too often, writers feel the need to stay in the writing mode, growing weary. Then, when it comes time to rewrite or edit, you find broken thoughts and incomplete scenes requiring more thought and writing. Your body will feel revived after a short stroll. Make sure to look around and enjoy all that you see.
3. Meet a friend! Sitting down somewhere outside of your typical writing area, with a friend is truly therapeutic. Even if you talk about your writing struggles, this time will allow you to vent frustrations, gain feedback, and listen. Writers spend a lot of time thinking about every word they choose to write and what better way to handle this stress than talking it out with someone who you trust and who cares for you. We all need a little sympathy every now and again and it certainly beats trying to hold the frustrations in, causing the stress to build up over time.
4. Freestyle! That’s right, I said it. Open up a new document and write something without any care. For me, I write in freestyle about something that is really bugging me and how I would truthfully like to handle the situation. I make it into a mockery of sorts to amuse myself. It is a safe way to let out frustrations and have a little fun at the same time. Reread your new writing and entertain yourself with your thoughts, regardless of how ugly or taboo they may be. It will get your mind off of your project just long enough and will help your brain replenish itself with creativity. Laughter increases endorphins.
5. Visit somewhere you love! Take a backyard vacation for an hour or two and surround yourself with an environment that you truly enjoy. Just being there will rejuvenate you, not to mention feeling relaxed because you have placed yourself in a non-threatening setting. Too often, writers get so involved with their project that they forget just how much they need to feel a part of other environments and step away from their project. Seeing the same desks, computer, chair, etc. day-in and day-out, and having a manuscript that keeps calling to you can be exhausting, and we don’t even realize it. So, get in your car and go somewhere. Leave your writing behind.
Writing with a weary mind will certainly influence the quality of your writing in the wrong way. Unless you are writing a sleeper, take the initiative to protect your masterpiece by discovering ways to relax and allow your creative juices to fill your well again.
Jaymes Ian Woode