Write It Sideways

What Do You Do When You Can’t Write?

You come down with a terrible virus and you’re stuck in bed for weeks. Or something unexpected comes up and suddenly your life is headed in a completely different direction. Or you start a new job and have no time for anything else.

What do you do with your writing?

We all have times like these—some of us more than others. And if you haven’t faced a situation like this, you probably will at some point in the future.

So, let me ask you:

When you have no time at all for writing, how do you keep yourself motivated, and keep your work-in-progress from going stale?

My best personal tip is to listen to writing podcasts or books on tape when your hands are busy, or when you’re too tired to read, or when you’re driving. You’re still learning about the craft of writing, even if you’re not actually writing anything. This helps keep you motivated to get back to your work-in-progress when you get a chance, and it also provokes ideas to make your writing better when you do get there.

Your turn

In the comment section below, please share your own ideas on how to keep your writing alive when you just can’t write.

Update: Thanks so much for your comments, everyone! Below is a list of your ideas, but please feel free to leave a new comment if you’re just finding this post.

  1. Listen to writing podcasts, audio books, or short stories on your mp3 player.
  2. Think about potential plot twists
  3. Mentally develop your characters
  4. Use a dictaphone to take notes
  5. Write down ideas as they come to you
  6. Keep reading, as much as possible
  7. Write in very short bursts
  8. Do morning pages
  9. Think up short story ideas
  10. Mentally go over the next scenes you’ll write
  11. Keep inspiring books on-hand
  12. Do some research
  13. Keep up with social networking
  14. Draw or do something else creative