Feeling over-stressed? Overwhelmed by responsibilities and edits and runaway characters? Let’s face it. Writers work hard — and we don’t know when to stop. Instead we push ourselves until we’re threatened by burnout.
Here are 10 ways to remain sane while writing.
10. Make a schedule. I’m not a list maker, but I’ve found that a set schedule is essential for fitting in enough writing time. Otherwise? I spend too much time scrolling social media.
9. Read, read, read! Schedule regular breaks away from your writing to read and refresh your creative juices. After all, books fuel a writer’s mind like nothing else.
8. Feeling stuck? Give the story time to brew in the back of your mind. There’s a chance it’s premature and not ready to be written. Give it a chance to develop in your subconscious.
7. Can’t figure out your story? Afraid to take those first steps toward publication? Confused about building a platform? Hire an author coach. Trust me. They’re career savers.
6. Procrastinate. (Once you stop laughing, keep reading.) I know, I know, it sounds counter-productive. But sometimes you need to stop and let your mind rest. If you have a scheduled time to relax (see #10), you are far less likely to burn out during your writing session. Minutes into my procrastination session, I’m missing my story and ready to get back to work.
5. Free-write. Open a notebook (not the digital kind!) and simply let your thoughts spill out on the page. No editing. No censoring. Allow yourself to write badly. The important thing is to let the words flow.
4. Find a new writing spot: bookstore, new coffee shop, library study room. If you’re feeling especially brave, try a spot where you normally wouldn’t think of writing — in the car (not while driving!), in the grocery store (it’s not as weird as it sounds), in the park, in the gym. Ever try writing while on the treadmill?
3. Head to the bookstore. Browse the back covers, read snippets from random pages, draw inspiration from the covers. Change character names and events. Guess at the backstories. Using only the back cover blurb, imagine where you would take this story. You will leave the bookstore with your mind spinning, and words, conversations and scenes demanding to be written.
2. Go on an adventure. Try something new, or, better yet, something that scares you. Stepping out of my comfort zone never fails to spark my creativity.
1. Seek out other writers. When I feel myself teetering on the edge of insanity, I can trust my writer friends to pull me back over the edge. Plus, they keep me responsible when I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to write.
It’s your turn! How do you remain sane while writing?