Some Things to Do When You Can’t Seem to Write
When you can’t write, you can do pretty much anything else. And whatever you choose might help.
When you can’t write, you can sleep. Dream a few potentially unsettling and almost definitely perplexing dreams. You never know what kind of stuff your unconscious is going to unlock while you toss and turn that can eventually be of great use when you get back to that whole writing thing. Sleep is regenerative, too — and symbolic of a new start, sometimes. Also, being asleep just absolutely rocks. It’s a great way to not really live while killing a bunch of time. If that’s what you’re into.
When you can’t write, you can weep. Have yourself a cry. A good, solid one if you can muster it. I’m talking heaving sobs — two breaths in for each labored breath out seems to be the sweet spot, for whatever reason. It’s cathartic. And by opening yourself up you can let some stuff in. Before too long (hopefully), that stuff becomes a bunch of ideas that’ll send you back to the blue-lit screen or notebook of your choice.
When you can’t write, you can walk. Get some steps in. Convene with nature, if you live by any of it. And if you don’t, take advantage of the people-watching opportunities that come with a nice stroll. You’ll see some beautiful stuff and occasionally some supremely weird shit. It all goes into the coffers from which you take those little nuggets that spark into some random flash fiction story about some anonymous couple you saw bickering about where to go to brunch (“and it better not be the goddamn Smith again, Jason, you need to broaden your horizons, and don’t you use the ‘I know what I like’ defense for the third time this month”) you’ll eventually write that few people will read, but if you’re writing purely for site views from the jump things probably aren’t going to work out all that well for you. I’m sorry to say it, but them’s generally the breaks.
When you can’t write, you can clean the fridge. It probably needs it. Purges are absolutely fantastic. Getting rid of some clutter can be something of a healing salve. Especially when you’re disposing of a carton of long-forgotten Chinese food that has gone from an edible delight to an amateur science experiment. (This is a side note, but I was 36 years old…