Five Ways a Writer Can Recharge

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Yes, of course we should write every day, if we’re serious about our profession. But there may be times where we are absolutely depleted. Perhaps we’ve been writing consistently for months or just completed a major deadline with some all-nighters. Perhaps other areas of life are so burdensome that we can’t eke out another word. Whatever might be the circumstances at our desks, or in our lives or hearts, we writers need to recharge once in a while!

Here are five ways a writer can recharge before bounding back into that next big project:

1. STOP.

Stop writing. Yes, it seems risky. Will we ever get back into the groove? I suggest identifying a set amount of time to stop writing. Decide it ahead of time: I’m not going to write today. Or for three days, so I can go away for the weekend. I’m going to take a one-week break. A one-month break. Or whatever you think best for your situation. Whatever you decide, stick to it. Calendar the start and end dates. When that period is over, start writing again.

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2. READ.

I am always more prolific as a writer when I’m reading. Even when I’m not writing, my daily reading encourages and motivates me by spurring new ideas, jolting me into a new world or line of thinking, taking me out of myself and my life circumstances. As an additional recharge, read a completely new type of work rather than your normal nightstand fare. If you read novels, try a book of short stories. If you love biography or nonfiction, try reading a play or book of poems instead. If you’re into graphic novels, try historical fiction, and so on. Mix it up. Your brain will be ready for so much more and you will take more creative risks when it’s time to return to the writer’s chair.

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3. TRY VISUAL ART.

Our textually-focused writer’s brain gets a breath of fresh air when we get up from the laptop and look at something else — namely, a bit of visual art. Visiting a museum, seeing a film, painting a canvas, taking photographs or sketching a drawing of our own — any of these can keep us in a creative zone while giving us a mental break. When we do something else with our eyes and hands besides being at the computer, new light bulbs can flash on in our heads. I’ve gotten some of my best story ideas while strolling museums.

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