Sometimes, writers and artists need a way to drown out the noise in our brains in order to refocus on a thing we’re working on. I like to consider it a palate cleanser for the mind or a kind of reset. The goal isn’t to fill my brain with more inspiration or motivation, but to empty it and create space for new ideas to grow. I typically have daily activities that allow me to do this, aside from my self-care, but I also have trusted go-tos if my daily ones aren’t sufficing.
When I need something bigger than my normal brain escapes, these are the the activities I turn to. I seek out things that are similar to meditation, but have me physically doing more than sitting with myself in order to still feel productive and battle against the feeling of not accomplishing anything.
My grandma taught me to crochet at a young age – it was one of her favorite things to do in her free time and I spent a ton of time at her house growing up because my parents worked a lot. Now, I’m in no way a master – I can barely still make scarves (though, I did manage to make these ridiculous little cat butt coasters for everyone last holiday season). But the draw to this activity is that it gives my hands something to do and the repetitive motion can create a trance-like state (almost).
Every holiday season, I ask for an adult coloring book and a fresh set of coloring utensils to keep my stock fresh for the coming year. There’s something beautiful in the simplicity of sitting on the couch, music lightly playing in the background, and honoring my inner child by letting her play with color. I’m not a very good artist, so the coloring books help alleviate any stress or anxiety about having to make something new and just allows me to be. To date, Lost Ocean is still my favorite coloring book.
- Read a genre I don’t typically read.
For me, this is dark fantasy, horror, or mystery. Usually the type you find in airports – you know what I’m talking about. Thick, small paperbacks. Libraries are stuffed full of these, so you don’t have to spend money on books you rather not have on your personal shelves. I’ve tried romance, but it was a little too painful for me. The point is, if you read fantasy, pick up some poetry. If you read history, explore YA fiction. You get the idea. Right now, I’ve started the Fever Series by Karen Marie Moning.
Take the time to reflect on things/hobbies you have that mellow you out but still make you feel like you haven’t wasted your time. I’d love to know what you do to keep your hands busy and your mind less full.