We need some light.
First of all, we need some light.
You can’t sit here in the dark.
And all alone, it’s a sorry sight. (“Light” – Next to Normal)
There are times when the dark threatens to drag me down. Sometimes the heartache and insecurity that come with being a writer are hard to take, particularly if it has been a stressful week. When I’ve been sitting in front of the computer for way too long, and the words just won’t come, and I’m feeling ranty or frustrated, then I need a break.
How do I find the light? Here are some ideas:
- First of all, get away from the computer. It’s not a real break if you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, or any other social media site.
- Go outside. Now that spring is here, go for a walk. I’m lucky enough to live in a small town with three coffeehouses within a 20-minute walk. The promise of really good coffee is enough incentive to get me out the door.
- If the weather isn’t cooperating, snuggle up on the couch in a blanket and re-read a favorite children’s book. Some of my go-to books are Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater, The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald, and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great by Judy Blume.
- Bake something delicious. If you don’t want the temptation in the house, give the baked goods to a friend, a neighbor, or a teacher. My husband is a high school teacher and he loves it when students bring him homemade cookies.
- Listen to music. Blast it somewhere private and dance around. Play it while you’re out on your walk. If you’re musically inclined, play an instrument. Tooling around on the piano always makes me feel better.
- Set aside an evening and do something indulgent with your kids or with a friend. For me that might be watching an action movie with my 12-year-old son or watching bad reality TV on Netflix with my teenage daughter. If you want a break from screen time, play a board game or look through old photo albums together.
- Purge a closet or a desk drawer or a whole room. Take out stuff you don’t want/use/wear and get rid of it (trash, recycle, Goodwill).
- Hit the gym and sweat out all that anxiety. Run on the treadmill, take a class, lift weights, or whatever makes you feel pumped.
- Write someone a thank-you note: a friend, a relative, or a teacher. Send someone a birthday card. I promise you, they’ll be happy to receive it, especially if it’s unexpected.
- Spend time with your dog, cat or other pet. They don’t care if whether you have a book deal or an agent or a stalled WIP. They just want a walk, or some treats, or a little fun with the mouse-shaped laser pointer.
How do you find the light?
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