Monday, July 26, 2010

Give Your Writing Brain a Break

I still love this one.
Anyone who has participated in NaNoWriMo has experienced a creativity sprint of mega proportions. You get so fired up about your WIP you write everywhere: in meetings, in the car, in the shower. You dream Story. You're in love and the creative process Totally Rocks.

Then, the inevitable happens. You stall out. We've all been through that moment when you can't write another stinking word. Hell, you can't even come up with a status update that's funny or clever. This is entirely different from scene blockage- the art of avoiding working on a particular section or project - and it's certainly not writer's block. 

Your writing brain is fried.

Neither the critically-acclaimed Keep-Butt-In-Chair method or the 10-Minute-Freewrite system cure the problem. If you're the melodramatic type, this would be the point when you'd grab the bottle of pills, pop in something more depressing and cliche than The Cure, and shout "GOODBYE CRUEL WORLD" because you can't write anymore, so a suicide note's out of the question and -

Wait.

Put away the saddest album ever. This is fixable.You just need to rest.

When you exercise - especially when you lift weights - you need to let the muscle group you just worked on a chance to recuperate from the workout. If you don't, and continue your aggressive training regimen, the odds of injury are super high. If you let your muscles relax, you can do more over time. You're training your muscles to do more.* So on the days you're not kicking the shit out of your arms, you might work on your legs. Or, if you're the type who works all the muscles groups together, you'd do a day of just cardio and alternate.

The same thought process can be applied to writing. If you give your writing brain time to recover from the marathon, you'll be more productive overall. I know it's hard if you're in the throes of a project, but if you keep pushing when all that's coming out is "cheese monkeys," are you really being productive?

Mindless activity at it's best.
The best way to give that half of your brain a break is to stay away from words. If you're an avid reader, this is hard, but it's so worthwhile. The problem with writing and reading is it requires you to think, and the goal of giving your brain a break is not to.

Do something that you haven't done in a while. Something simple and mindless.

I find crafts are a real good way to do this. Like, elementary school crafts. Potholders made out of loops. Gimp. Color by numbers. Coloring books! Not the crafty type? Then maybe video games are the way to go. You can play Mario until you fall upside down, if such a thing were possible. Movie marathons of your favorite flicks are great too.

Whatever you decide to do to give yourself a much deserved break, make sure it's fun and that it's something you enjoy. This isn't punishment - you're rewarding yourself for a great in-progress job.

What are some ways you give your brain a break?


* This is my highly non-educated hardcore athletic opinion. An actual trainer would be able to give you a real answer. 



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Last.fm hit of the day: Born Too Late by Saint Vitus

2 comments:

  1. Loom knitting = potholders for grown-ups

    ReplyDelete
  2. Em, you can also make jump ropes or cat toys.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    ReplyDelete

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