How To Cheat on Your Writing Without Getting Caught
I am. Here’s a brief list of some of the creative arenas I sometimes dabble in (dabble being the key word): knitting, stitching, painting, art journaling, collage, weaving, mosaic.
Okay, nix on the mosaic. Somewhere in this house I have a bunch of ceramic shards but God only knows where they might be. But I like the idea of it. As for the other things on the list, the activity I do with regularity is knitting, and beyond that it is a once in a blue moon thing to find me painting or collaging.
When I do these things, I love them. And set me up on Ravelry, a website for knitters and crocheters, and I can waste hours looking around. I love to dream big. But how many actual knitting projects do I get done each year? Oh, maybe one or two if I’m lucky.
I think this is because I sometimes feel guilty pursuing any creative art besides writing. For some reason, I often feel I should be pouring every ounce of my creativity into writing and writing alone. And yet the people I admire the most are those who excel in one creative area, yet happily continue to ply other crafts.
What about you? Maybe you love photography, or cooking, or creating model train layouts. Or taking a foreign language. Or any number of creative activities. But how often do you stop yourself from taking time for them, thinking instead, I need to go write. When you do take time for a hobby do you look over your shoulder, terrified your writing is going to discover you at work on, gasp, something else?
One of the things I loved most about The Artist’s Way from Julia Cameron is that she actively encourages creatives to indulge in all sorts of hobbies. (And by the way, if you haven’t read that book in a while, consider pulling it off your shelf. I was just paging through it, remembering how wonderful and seminal a volume it is.)
So herewith is my list of my you should be a creative adulterer:
Because doing so actually fills the well from which we draw to write. In the same vein as taking an Artist’s Date, giving yourself time to doodle or paint or draw a garden plan fills up your inner well and gives you more energy to write.
Because it will give your poor brain a break. If yours is anything like mine, it needs one once in a while. When I’m trying to do too much I end up in a massively confused state and then I don’t get anything done.
Because a creative hobby is intentional rest. We so easily succumb to what Jennifer Loudon calls shadow comforts. We don’t take time to read the book that’s been on our nightstand for a month, but we’ll happily spend half-an-hour on the internet. The first choice would result in a relaxing mental break, while the second is a bona-fide shadow comfort. For an absolutely brilliant article on this concept, click here.
Because turning your writing into a should is a sure way to make you hate it. And when you are not allowing yourself any other kind of relaxation or fun besides writing, sure enough you’re turning it into a should. Hey, this craft is hard—we might as well enjoy it, right?
Because good ole fashioned play is something we need more of in our lives. Studies have shown that play has great benefits for adults, including, stress relief, improved brain function, improved relationships and increased energy. You can read more here.
So come on, take a break for your writing and indulge in that favorite hobby of yours. (And by the way, this may be the only time I ever urge you not to write, so take advantage of it.)
What is your favorite non-writing creative pursuit? Comment below and join the conversation.
Photo by Missa88.