Over the last few weeks I’ve been a bit worn out, to the point that my writing slowed right down and I spent far too much time beating myself up. Then I became so ill I was trapped in my bed for a week and there was nothing I could do about it.
It is really hard when you can’t write. Particularly when all you want to do is write.
Sometimes we need to take a break. And I can tell you I’m feeling much better for it, even if it was a forced break, despite being well behind in all my projects and even unable to post last week.
So, when I couldn’t write, what was I doing?
Firstly, I was sleeping because when you are sickly and run down that is the best way to recharge the batteries.
Secondly, when I could, I was reading. Not as much as I would have liked but more than I have had the chance to over the last few months. You can learn a lot from other people’s writing, not just entertainment and escapism (which are the main reasons I read).
Asking questions about what I have read helps to strengthen my own writing:
- Why did I enjoy the book?
- What was it about the characters that hooked me?
- Why didn’t I like it?
- Why did that scene/character/event frustrate/annoy/elate me?
In understanding what works or what doesn’t in other’s writing can only help.
I have also been reading more indie published books to see what others are doing and how well that appears to work.
When not doing sleeping or reading I was stretched out on the couch watching (binging on) a range of series and movies.
I love TV as it gives a very different story telling experience. Obviously it is much more visual. The setting jumps from the screen and slightest inflections by characters are very effective. I love these little visual clues and it is important to remember to include the details when writing.
One series I watched was based in China during the late 1700’s. The setting was amazing and I got a few ideas from the society and palace design for future stories.
I am more or less back to normal now, whatever normal might be. I’m watching my energy levels closely to ensure I don’t go downhill again. But the time out has given me the confidence that as frustrating as it was that I couldn’t write I was still able to feed my creative side and the muse continued to work away.