7 Non-Writing Things Writers Should Do

English: Turning a hot compost pile

My brain is a steaming pile of facts and paranoia.(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1. Read. Seriously, how do you expect to make good words without reading some good words first? That’s like expecting to be a world-class chef without eating. Except then you’d also be dead.

2. Exercise. I know, I know: you want to write so that you have a legitimate excuse for sitting on your ass in your pyjamas all day,  having candy pumped directly into your veins. Fuck off. Your body is more than just the carrying case for your brain. It’s the entire sensory apparatus that you use to take in new information. And it’s a hell of a lot harder to create well when you feel like shit all the time.
But in case you need more convincing, here, try this: exercise improves cognitive function. Move your ass and get smarter. Plus, better sleep. And the ability to fend for yourself in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, because I am not carrying your ass.

3. Have Human Interaction. Writing is solo*, so we spend a lot of time alone. Make the effort and talk to another human being occasionally. Tell yourself you’re doing research if you have to. But connect. It’ll make you less creepy. And make your written interactions more realistic.

4. Sleep. You don’t sleep, your brain pickles itself in toxic waste. That’s science, yo. Chronic poor sleep with bottom out your creativity. Nothing wrong with the occasional all-nighter—fuck knows I’ve done them myself, when the heat is on and the words are pumping—but don’t make a habit of it. Get your sleep and be more coherent. Not to mention less likely to wrap your car around a tree.

5. Learn Stuff. Any stuff. A new language. A new sport. How to make pho. What the typical meal for the Chinese Emperor was circa 1543. Learn stuff, and toss it into the compost pile of your imagination. Let it ferment and make new shiny ideas for you. And, you know, have fun in the meantime.

6. Create. Not just write. Try another creative avenue: drawing, cooking, landscape gardening, singing, interpretive badger arranging. You’ll have fun, for one. And, for another, you will discover that creativity, like all the best cannibals, feeds best on creativity.

7. Find People Who Aren’t Assholes. People who won’t make fun of you for writing. People who understand that having an imagination is not an affront to the right-minded. People who are open. They don’t have to be writers themselves, but they should understand that what you’re doing is awesome. Because it is.

*For the most part. Some people work with collaborators and co-writers. But your cat is neither.

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2 thoughts on “7 Non-Writing Things Writers Should Do

  1. I love this list. I went through serious writer’s block for a while and decided to plant a garden this year. Believe it or not, it helped and it kept me creative. I also love that you mention finding people who aren’t assholes. More often than not, when people find out I’m a writer, they immediately make a face and sometimes say not-so-nice things lol. 😀

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