Many of us may be a far cry from the days when a newborn in the house made sleep a distant memory, but we all have times when we hit a low-energy pocket in our writing or feel stalled. In a lively online Writer’s Digest story called, “6 Ways to Stay Creative (When You’re a Parent),” writer and editor Lisa Lepki offered some great tips for staying on track that can help us all:
1. Work on story structure: If you’ve hit a rough patch and your writing seems strained, you can use this downtime productively by shifting into planning mode. As Lisa puts it: “Remember that novel about the perfect crime that you always wanted to write? Even if the words aren’t flowing, you can still be thinking about the elements of the story and how they work together. Apps like Scrivener and The Novel Factory have cork boards where you can jot down notes about your
plot or your characters…”
2. Revisit unfinished projects: Sometimes when you feel creatively challenged, taking some time to go backwards instead of forward can help get your juices flowing. So if working on something new isn’t working for you, it may be less stressful and more fruitful to pull out some old projects that are languishing on your computer or in a file folder. Having some distance from them can be enormously helpful: You can quickly see what works and what doesn’t. You might even find yourself coming up with fresh ideas and pushing through to a new and better draft. It’s always a great to rescue a piece that had possibilities but somehow didn’t make it to the home stretch.
3. Listen to audio books: Sometimes just using a different sensory organ can shake the cobwebs loose. Many writers. both aspiring and established, find that listening to novels and stories is a great way to understand and get a handle on an admired author’s style and rhythm. So if words on a page are eluding or frustrating you, why not listen to a story instead of reading it? Most libraries stock these and you can find them in your own genre or outside it.
4. Walk and talk: We might not be spending hours pushing a stroller, but even so, strolling can be a great way to get your juices flowing. Dickens spent hours walking the streets of London to unwind and find fuel for his novels. We can give this age-old activity a digital twist by using a dictation app. These seem to have improved tremendously and since everyone’s cruising around chatting on their cell phones, these days, you’ll be totally on trend. You can try dictating the bare bones of a story or putting verbal flesh-and-bones on a character. Who knows, you might even see someone amble by with just the eyes your make-believe masterpiece needs.
Sometimes when we hit a low-point in our energy, just mixing it up and breaking free of old patterns can help us find our writing groove again. You can check out Lisa’s full story at: http://www.writersdigest.com/online-editor/6-ways-to-stay-creative-as-a-writer-when-youre-a-parent? Write on!