Friday, October 22, 2010

Top 5 Ways to Stay Sane as a Writer

Top 5 posts HERE.

Writing is a lifestyle where it feels as if you sit on the brink of sanity. Sometimes that's because you hear voices and see "movies" in your head. Other times it's the see-saw of emotions that goes from "Yay! I can really write!" to "I'm the lamest person to ever string two words together. Wah!" and back again.

And that's not counting the crazy stuff involved in getting or staying published.

When I'm losing my mind, here are my top 5 ways of staying SANE:

1. Read.
I always have a book (or two or three or four or . . .) that I'm reading, but I tend to read piecemeal. When I'm in the crazy zone, I find that sitting back and actually reading for an afternoon or an evening is a great way to de-pressurize and get back into the literary groove.

2. Take a Walk.
I walk as long as it takes for my mind to "unkink." No iPod or anything else. Just me and the sidewalk. The first several blocks, my brain chatters about this and that and the other. Eventually, the even pace of my steps and being outside calms the chatter, and my mind relaxes. I've found story ideas and plot solutions when I'm not even trying . . . but when I'm walking.

3. Have an Artist's Date
You know, ala Julia Cameron and The Artist's Way. For me, it can mean walking through the library, taking a jaunt through a thrift store, checking out a local museum, or even the dollar store. Just getting OUT. Sometimes this can be taking my writing with me and writing in a different location, like the picnic table at a park. I have a dream of going to a movie alone some afternoon. Haven't done it yet, but I will.

4. Knit.
Another way to unkink my brain. Provided I'm not doing a pattern that requires a lot of thinking, I can knit, still creating but in a different way. It always provides me with relaxation as well as a way for my mind to drift.

5. Each chocolate.
I don't think this needs much commentary. My downfall is often Mrs. Callender's French Silk Pie with the cookie crumb crust (because when I'm in the crazy, I'm in no mood to make my own chocolate, even though I have plenty of chocolate recipes!).


Susan Anderson said...

All of these work well for me, too. Unfortunately, I can't knit these days because of carpel tunnel. And chocolate is largely out the window due to diabetes.

However, the walking, reading, and getting out are still great solutions.

(And I continue to throw a little bit of chocolate into the mix, now and again...and again...and again...)


Lisa Loo said...

I have always wondered why I felt drawn to you and your blog other than I enjoy your books and the english language. I certainly don't want to be a writer. NOW I KNOW!


I am so relieved.....

Anonymous said...

Reading definitely keeps me sane. Plus, I heard a research study a while back that said people who read more are less prone to develop alzheimers. With that whole thing about a remembered experience being the same biochemically as an actual experience, I definitely want to avoid that!

The Crash Test Dummy said...

Oh my gosh! This post is so darn true! You just took the words right out of my mouth. Especially the lame thing. LUB YOUR GUTS! I've been wondering as of late how in the world you do it. The mom thing, plus the published thing. It's quite amazing.

I'm hoping to come to your chocolate party next week.

* said...

You know which # is my fave, right? #5!!!!!
:) Bring on the chocolate!

PS: See's candy has a new dark chocolate truffle out, have you tried it? I bought a few yesterday while @ the mall...mmmm.

wendy said...

Those are all good things.....even if you're NOT a writer.

Shelley said...

I am a huge fan of taking myself and my book out for a lunch date. Because reading and eating-two of my faves! I think I startled the waitress one time when I took my self to lunch after a particularly crazy time; she asked if anyone would be joining me and I snapped, "They better not be!"


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