9 Distractions for Waiting Writers

Photo credit: vancouverfilmschool on Flickr
So on June 13, something strange and wonderful happened. I woke up feeling energized and excited to get writing. I blasted through writing sprint after sprint and ended the day with 5,214 new words in my WIP.

I’d expected to be tired the next day, but I wasn’t. This happened, instead:

It was exhilarating, and wonderful, and I finished two weeks ahead of schedule, and I went to bed with a smile on my face and latent excitement in my veins.

When I woke the next morning, I was left with...now what? I wanted to dive immediately into edits, but I knew I edit most effectively after giving my manuscripts time to cool. I needed distance, even if I didn’t really want to take the time to let it settle.

I know I can’t be the only one who gets impatient while waiting for the cooling off period to end, and so I’ve devised a list of distractions. Enjoy.

  1. Catch up on that TBR pile. We all know how difficult it can be to make time to read while also making time to write. Sometimes, when in the middle of a first draft, your reading pile begins to grow. Now you have a little extra time—why not use it to read some excellent books?

  2. Read a book on craft. Now’s a good a time as ever to whip out your highlighter and dust off those writing books. Even better—take notes while you’re at it that you can use when you begin revising in a few short weeks.

  3. Work on another WIP. This has the added bonus of focusing your mind on something completely unrelated to the first draft you just completed. And as an extra extra bonus, you’ll have two (or more) WIPs to play with at the end of it.

  4. Get some research out of the way. For writers like me who tend to leave the bulk of the researching until the revision stage, now’s a good time to start taking notes and what you know you’ll need.

  5. Brainstorm with Pinterest. Yes, yes, Pinterest is an enormous time-suck if you let it...but it can also be a source of fantastic inspiration for your WIP. So it’s a worthy time-suck, IMO.

  6. Do some non-writing WIP-related activities. This can be a variety of things—create a mock-up book cover, write a language for your fantasy, fan cast your characters, or create an inspiration board. Just don’t open up that WIP quite yet.

  7. Go outside. Neil Gaiman said it best. We writers have a tendency of locking ourselves in our writing caves and regarding the sun as a fiery ball of kryptonite while writing. But sometimes it’s good to go outside and remember how to describe sun on your skin and wind in your hair.

  8. Spend time with family and friends. You know. Before they start to wonder if your keyboard ate you.

  9. Indulge in mindless hobbies. Look, you’ve done something amazing, something that millions of people haven’t—you’ve written a book! Now that you have a little extra time before you start editing, go ahead and indulge in something silly. Watch Hulu, go to the movies, practice your Colonial America assassin skills. Whatever it is, don’t feel guilty about indulging—you deserve it.

How do you distract yourself between WIPs?

Twitter-sized bites:
Are you in between WIPs? Trying not to go crazy while waiting? Here are nine distractions for writers.  (Click to tweet
Are you a waiting writer? Here are nine ways to keep your sanity intact. (Click to tweet)


Melissa Maygrove said...

I spend my life trying to GET TO my WIPs. Work and family obligations keep getting in the way. But when I need a rest, I usually read for pleasure or go someplace with the fam.

Ava Jae said...

I understand trying to find time to work on the WIP to begin with, which is another matter entirely. But eventually you need time to let the writing cool, which is where this comes into play. :)

Reading for pleasure and spending time with the family sounds nice. Definitely a good use of time. ^_^

Jeremy Feijten said...

Great distractions! I can't even look at my TBR pile now. It's huge! :o

And I agree with Neil Gaiman. In fact, I love that part of being a writer; having the 'obligation' to explore EVERYTHING xD

I would try to skip those mindless hobbies, though. I'm already to easily distracted by them, even when there's still writing to be done.

Talking of which, I'm going to do a bit of that now. It's been quite a while since I last wrote a story.

Ava Jae said...

Thanks, Jeremy! The mindless distractions are good to avoid while writing. I allow myself a little indulgence when I'm between WIPs, though. :)

Robin Red said...

We finished our WIPs around the same time. You understand my feels!

Ava Jae said...

I do! I completely understand your feels!

And that too. :D

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