Monday was not a good writing day.
Any would-be writer knows the feeling. You want to write, need to write even, but you can only watch in dismay as each painfully-extracted word lands with a dull thud. With another Magnificent Nose deadline bearing down upon me, I started to wonder if I’d ever produce anything of value again.
I often advise struggling writers to push through the pain in situations like this, but I could no longer sit still while my writing grew worse before my eyes. Heaving a sigh, I decided that I might as well find something more productive to do.
But as I got up to clear the clutter from the dining room table, a sentence began to form. Monday was not a good writing day, I thought, as I arranged the mail into a neat little pile. Yes, that should do it. I sat back down in front of the computer.
I had to sit down and get back up several times. After a few tries, I developed a neat little routine: Sit down, type a few words, wash a couple of dishes. Sit down, type a few words, vacuum the living room couch. With each new household chore, I inched a bit closer to finishing this article. I also crossed a few things off my chore list, which was pretty exciting in and of itself.
My big breakthrough came when my husband arrived home, and we made our regular nightly visit to the gym. Ideas poured down on me as I ran on the treadmill, and before long I not only had this blog entry nailed down, but three solid ideas for future articles.
Sometimes, our best ideas come to us when we’re driving a car, walking the dog, or carrying the trash to the curb (yet another helpful chore I managed to accomplish that day). If you’re a creatively-blocked writer, don’t waste too much time sulking; try getting up and moving around a bit. If you don’t have a house to clean or errands to run, consider taking a leisurely walk through your neighborhood. For those of you who live where the fall weather is setting in, take a few minutes to enjoy the crisp October air and the vibrant foliage.
Bring a little notebook along to jot down your thoughts if you like. If not, you can always resume writing when you get back to your desk. And even if you can’t come up with a brilliant idea on this particular day, well–you still got a pleasant walk out of the deal.
True, Monday was not a good writing day.
But it turned out to be a pretty good day, nonetheless.
Writer and educator Sara Goas is a graduate of Lycoming College, and she specializes in creating content for the web. Her site saragoas.com has more examples of her work.