Despite the fact that things seem to be easing, even here in Wales, it is hard to relax. Some days we, as co-authors, find that, for various reasons, the words do not flow and something that should take an hour takes all day. We value our well-being and support each other through these days. We’ve been thinking about the ways we relax and how that eases the mind and aids writing inspiration, on a subliminal level. If you are tussling with a plotline or character, try doing something different to allow your subconscious to work out your problems while your conscious mind focuses on something else. Here are five ways we use to relax.
- The daily walk can be full of surprises. Let your mind wander and observe the world around you. Think about the beauty of nature. Smell the different scents. Look at the colours of the plants growing in the countryside or in people’s gardens. Listen to the birdsong. Be aware of the rhythm of your stride and of yourself in the present moment. It helps general well-being.
- On your walk take photographs. Buildings, plants, trees, flowers, hedges, odd things like a broken wall, a secret garden, a rusted gate, a forgotten pathway. It’s amazing how your mind will start spinning stories and you find inspiration while you concentrate on capturing a moment of time while you are out and about.
- Staying with the outdoors theme, many people have enjoyed gardening during lockdown and there is something therapeutic about that connection with nature and the satisfaction of seeing things grow. Even if the slugs get most of your produce, there’s something wholesome about being in the outdoors with the earth in your fingers that is relaxing and allows the mind to unwind.
- People have taken up new hobbies or developed existing ones to help them to relax body and mind. Meditation. Yoga. Tai chi. Baking bread or cakes. Sewing. Painting. Knitting. Instead of labouring over your words take time to indulge yourself in something different, something that will challenge your body, such as a physical workout, or your mind, like drawing a landscape or still life. Maybe you unwind by doing crosswords, sudoku, playing a musical instrument, dancing or listening to music. Find your relaxation trigger and enjoy it without rebuking yourself for not hitting the day’s word count. You’ll feel better for it and return to your writing in a more rested and refreshed state
- And then there’s reading. We both love it. It’s the best way to reduce stress there is. Escape into a different world. Let all the troubles of the present wash away and become engrossed in the characters and environment that another writer has created for you. Better, we think, than television or films as your mind’s eye imagines those scenes and people while the rhythm of the words soothes you. One of the joys of co-authoring is reading each other’s words before anyone else.
During lockdown a number of people have taken up cleaning and DIY. Perhaps it’s what you do to relax? Do you find a sparkling kitchen surface or freshly painted room the thing that unleashes your writing creativity? If so, we applaud you. If not, well, we understand. Unfortunately, neither of us is likely to become a domestic goddess. Happy writing.