When writing isn’t going so well, it can feel quite stressful. Or maybe you’ve just spent hours working and now you need a break. You need to chill out. You don’t necessarily want your writing problems to follow you for the rest of the day or evening. True, sometimes you want to chew over things, but sometimes you need a break. So, here are 7 ways for writers to unwind after work.
1. Go for a walk
One of the simplest ways to unwind. Also useful if you have a writing problem and you need to take a break to chew it through. Either way, fresh air, exercise, and a change of scene are all great. It doesn’t cost money, and if you’re lucky enough to live near a bit of countryside, or a picturesque neighbourhood, you can enjoy the view.
2. Spend time with a pet
Whether you want to take a dog for a walk or hang out with a cat or other companion animal, you have a welcome distraction to get away from the keyboard.
3. Indulge in a sporting activity
Right now, some sporting activities are out of bounds thanks to Covid. But you might be able to go on a bike ride, or work out with some weights or resistance bands. Writing is such a sedentary business that having some sort of physical activity mixed in is no bad thing. Of course, some people have health issues that might interfere with physical activity.
4. Have a bath or a shower
This is a great way to unwind. You can also soak in the bath and read a book. Though you might be tempted to think over writing problems, you still get the chance to physically unwind.
5. Listen to relaxing music
And as well as music, there are nature sounds you can listen too, including rainstorms, ocean waves, and forest sounds. The only problem is that your writerly brain might use the sounds as a springboard for some scene ideas.
It’s not easy to clear the mind of thought and internal chatter. Especially if you’ve spend hours working on a piece of writing and you have some issues to solve. Plot hole still bothering you? Can’t stop thinking about a new character? Meditation is like a muscle you need to exercise over and over again. It takes time to master, but when you feel like you’re constantly rewriting the same paragraphs over and over and you need to step away from the keyboard, meditation is a great option.
7. Watch a film
Sometimes when you’re tired, you don’t necessarily have the focus for new film. But an old favourite can be a great way to unwind. You already know the plot so you can sit back and enjoy all your favourite parts without worrying that you might miss something.
Of course, you could also read a book, or listen to an audio book, but both might require more focus than you have left after a day’s writing. You just want to kick back and relax. Picture books – art, design, interiors, etc – can be a great distraction.
Writing requires concentration, research, problem-solving, and the juggling of many balls. The brain uses a considerable proportion of the body’s energy. Writing doesn’t look like a tiring occupation to the person watching you type away at your desk. In reality, it can leave you wiped out, especially after hours of concentration. If all else fails, you can take a nap. Or maybe you just want to remind yourself that other human beings exist – in which case, you could just go to the pub!