When you shouldn’t write

I am a firm believer in writing every single day. I really try to do so. But honestly, that get’s hard to do especially if you have a job that doesn’t include writing. I am a full-time student in my third year of college and sometimes I go two weeks without writing because I just have too much work to do. But I want to give you some reasons not to write, and what you can do during those non-writing times that will help you when you return to the paper and pen.

Reasons not to Write:

1. You are too overwhelmed with: work, school, family
Take that time and finish what you need to get done. I’m not saying that writing isn’t important. I’m just saying that writing should be something you do to enjoy and sometimes you can’t enjoy it fully when you are distracted or stressed.

2. Writer’s block
This is totally normal and a-okay! It happens to everyone, so don’t beat yourself up because guaranteed it’s happened to even the greats. Take a break and admire the work you’ve already done, because the fact that you can go so long without lacking inspiration is awesome!

3. You’re exhausted.
Maybe it’s 5am and you still haven’t slept- sleep!

4. When you are emotional.
Emotion in writing is good, awesome, actually. But, “Never trust your tongue when you’re heart is bitter.” I really think that if something really big just happened, take the day to let it resonate. Swallow it down, whatever inspiration that comes, it will come tomorrow.

So, you’re not writing right now. What do you do?

1. Read new material from other poets.
What are they doing that maybe you’d like to try? What are they doing that you will never do? Don’t just decide whether you like their style or not, mentally debate why or why not? What could this poet do to make you like their material more? Why do you think they’re not doing it?

2. Read prompts
Some people and poets put out writing prompts for people to practice writing or maybe just change things up a bit. There are tons of prompt lists out their in the world. Look at some lists and pick out 3-5 to write about when you go back to writing.

3. Listen to music.
Music and movies can inspire people more than we know. Something that a particular artist may have gone through can feed our inspiration. Music and lyrics can be very powerful tools as I discussed in my previous post.

4. Rest. 
Take time out for yourself. Relax. Do some of your favorite things to do during leisure time. I know it’s hard to believe but writing a lot and writing often can take a lot of brain power and make you very tired. Mental health is just as important. Sometimes I’ll write for an hour straight and have to step away for at least 30 minutes before I can continue writing. You may not feel it, but you may need it.

I hope this helped you guys,this is pretty important to me. Writing is my favorite thing to do literally all of the time, but I also love to be taken care of physically and mentally before I write. It’s important to be in our right minds when writing in order to create our best material. I understand that from madness comes inspiration but I really think you will be prouder of your work if you can learn to take healthy breaks from writing. Have a great weekend everybody!

ps. I linked Michael Lottner’s poetry prompts page above in number 2 of what to do when you’re not writing.

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