Monday, April 25, 2011

A-Z Challenge...Under Pressure

Writers put themselves under an immense amount of pressure. Usually before they even sit down to write. So how does this factor in when you are under a deadline, going through revisions or even completing a first draft?

The truth is it doesn't. So what do you do when inspiration remains evasive? Do you sit there gaping at the screen, pondering what deity in the universe is laughing heartily at your expense? Not quite. The next step is really quite simple.

Take a break. It's okay, trust me. Procrastination is one thing. It's a whole other post if you want to get down to it. But accepting the fact that you may need a break is something entirely different. There's no shame in admitting that your mind needs a rest. Is it hard? Absolutely.

Here are a few ideas:

Take a walk- You'd be surprised how effective even a short walk can be. No I don't take them late at night, but I do like to walk right after work and I've found that the ideas tend to come more readily. I've even run straight into the house to jot some down.

Watch a little TV- TV always relaxes me and allows my mind to wander. Usually I keep my trusty little notepad with me and if ideas come, I can write them down during the commercials.

Read a good book- Reading a good book always gets me in the mood to write. I love getting inspired by the words of other writers, seeing what they have achieved. It also reminds me why I do what I do.

Shopping- Retail therapy is always a great motivator for me...oops, its research, that's the party line that I feed my husband. Research for current trends is my reasoning for spending hours at the mall. I know this sounds like a crazy way to get inspiration, but I never claimed that my methods made sense.

Starbucks- When all else fails make a Starbucks run. Or sit and stay a while. Something about sitting and working in those places gets the creativity going for me. Okay so we all knew I would throw in Starbucks. It's pretty much a given for me.

Bottom line...when your mind gets all tangled in the web of craziness that we as writers all like to weave, relieve a bit of the pressure by doing something for yourself to relax. The ideas will return.

Okay, now it's your turn. When your thoughts go by the wayside, how do you get them fired up and sparking again?


Chris Phillips said...

I sketch out ideas for the project or for another one.

Jen Daiker said...

Great ideas though I don't think my husband would appreciate the shopping one... but I DO!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I usually turn to a task that is SO boring, the mind starts to create just to prevent itself from seizing up. Ex: weeding the flower beds or scrubbing the bathroom floor.

erica and christy said...

Dianne's ideas are much more productive than mine. :)

Life and writing aren't always compatable. Once in awhile, I have my husband take my laptop to work with him (we work opposite shifts). If inspiration truly hits, I'll go to the desktop, but otherwise I'll take the time to play with my kids.

I don't know if I'm proud or ashamed, but I've never been to a Starbucks.

Lindsay said...

I like to take a break by watching TV, reading, listening to music. I like to draw as well. Sometimes I find that helps clear my mind and get ideas flowing.

salarsenッ said...

These are all great suggestions. I find taking a break so difficult, like I'm letting my characters down or something. But in reality, stepping away is sometimes just what fuels me to move forward.

I like chatting with my kids, a real conversation. It tends to relax me, not to mention they are a world of material. Haha..

M Pax said...

Work on something else. Flip through my idea book. Work out. Do something completely different. Send long rambling emails about being stuck to a friend.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Ha! The mall is so funny. I'll have to remember that one. I like to read good books when I need a break.