Free Pass of Permission to "Let Go"

"Getting stuck" is a problem all authors face at one time or another. People have different names for it - writer's block, hitting the wall, or creative burnout, but what you call it isn't what's important. How you get yourself past it is what really matters.

I have found that the best path for me in getting "unstuck" or "creatively inspired" is giving myself permission to step back from my work and do something different, sometimes something completely different. Though this can be hard to do, especially if I'm under any kind of deadline, it is sometimes the most direct way to getting back to the place I want to be with my work.

Even though on many occasions I've proven this to be true for my own writing process, it sometimes takes me awhile to come to the conclusion that it will be well worth my while to let myself "let go" a little. So, because of that, I thought I'd do all of you the favor of listing some of my favorite ways to "let go" and then giving you one Free Pass of Permission to use any or all of these ideas next time you find yourself facing writer's block or creative burnout. You might be surprised by how quickly one of these very ordinary activities leads to an extremely extraordinary inspiration giving you just what you need to get back to your work.

  • Read a book
  • Take a walk
  • Page through a mail-order catalog
  • Browse around a thrift store
  • Color in a coloring book
  • Watch old reruns
  • Listen to music
  • Bake something
  • Cook something
  • Clean a closet
  • Look at an old yearbook
  • Do a puzzle
  • Work on a photo album
  • Crochet or knit
  • Sew  

Sometimes I only have to step away from my work for an hour or an afternoon. Other times I find it takes me days of sewing projects or multiple batches of brownies to find my inspiration. But whatever it takes, it's always such a wonderful feeling when my relaxing activities finally get those creative juices flowing and I find myself sitting at my laptop happily moving forward again, sometimes while a gooey, chocolate brownie cools off on my desk.

Happy Writing and Reading,
Nancy J. Cavanaugh