Spread Your Wings: An IWSG Post

Good day, everyone!

Sometimes, it feels like forever until we come to the first Wednesday of the month. Sometimes, not so much. The former is true this month. Regardless, it’s time for my monthly Insecure Writer’s Support Group post. For those new to my blog, the IWSG is a community of writers dedicated to support and encourage fellow writers, no matter what stage of the process they’re in. Members share their triumphs as well as their struggles.

I would like to thank this month’s co-hosts: Raimey Gallant, Natalie Aguirre, CV Grehan, and Michelle Wallace. I encourage you to check out their sites, as well as check out the IWSG website for more information. And if you want to share your stories and offer your advice, follow the instructions on the main page to sign up.

Each month, the group gives us an opportunity to share something about the process. Or they allow us to answer an optional question that correlates to the writing process. Today, I’m going to answer this month’s question:

Besides writing, what other creative outlets do you have?

Writing can be a stressful venture. Any other writer who says or believes otherwise is fooling himself. I can’t begin to elaborate on how many times I thought about quitting writing because I strained my brain on so many aspects of the process. The drafting. The revising. The editing. It’s a never ending carousel; one that we decided to ride with each story we create. But every once in a while, we need to jump off said carousel. We need time to recharge our creative batteries. One such way is to escape writing altogether. I’m not saying to give up writing that story, but rather, step away and do something else.

I work a full-time retail job, so writing is a way to relieve the tension of interacting with customers. But even then, I need a break from writing. So I tackle other creative endeavors.

Journaling. I know, this is still considered writing, but it allows me time to think about my feelings. Ponder my life outside of writing. I have a “Health Journal” that I write to assess my emotional state. Especially if I’m having a bad day, it really comes in handy.

Gaming. I may not have time to play games on my PlayStation 4, but there are other avenues. My iPhone is the most obvious. I have my go-to games like Pokémon GO and 8 Ball Pool. I’ve tried other games, but those are my favorites. But I also play card games like Uno and Solitaire. I especially love playing with the kids.

Traveling. I do this more with my family rather than solo. But I find a change of scenery works wonders for my creative side. It allows me to get out of my own head and my perceptions on life. Seeing another side of my town or traveling to a different city altogether actually helps the brainstorming process, allowing exploration of new settings and characters.

Drawing/Painting. I’m not very good at drawing, but when I draw with my kids, that doesn’t matter. I love the drawings my kids produce at school and at home. I don’t think about how “good” they are, just that they’re able to express themselves. And being free to create whatever I want helps with drafting because I’m telling myself that it’s okay if my work is clumpy. I can work with clump and make it into something grand.

Reading. This is something I should do more often. From a writer’s standpoint, I should read to study the stylings of other writers. But sometimes, I shut off the analytical side of my brain and allow myself to be immersed in the world the books present.

Watching TV/Netflix/YouTube. These go hand-in-hand with one another. I’m a very visual person. As such, I have to see the world I’m presented. Lately, I’ve been streaming more because the content is much more vast and there’s a certain euphoria that comes from watching something different. And similar to the effects of traveling, watching different shows can introduce characters I might not have thought of before.

Listening to Music. When TV is not available, or there’s nothing to watch (go figure), I turn on the radio or I’ll stream music on Spotify. The genre usually depends on the mood I’m in. Most of the time, I’m listening to either Light Instrumental or Movie Soundtracks.

Those are some ways I unwind from the writing grind. We all need time to reassess our process. Sometimes, we just need to put the pen down or close our word processing program of choice. Take time to stop and smell the roses.

What about you? What do you do when you need to step away from writing? Let me know in the comments.

Until next time…

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