3 Things Writers Can Do to Step Away from the Desk and Decompress

If you’re a professional writer, the odds are good that you spend virtually all of your time sitting down at a desk, or on the sofa, glued to one or another type of screen.

Not only does writing itself necessarily involve you spending a huge chunk of your day typing away on your computer, but if you’re anything like the majority of people living in the Western world today, you also manage to spend a good deal of your free time watching TV, or surfing the web, as well.

Every writer, therefore, needs excuses to get away from the desk for a while and to do something completely unrelated to writing or staring at a digital device. This could take the form of meeting up with friends to discuss hen weekend ideas, but it could also include a wide range of other activities.

Here are some ways that writers can get away from the desk during their downtime.

Go hiking

Getting physically active out in nature is essentially the opposite to sitting indoors all day and exhausting your mind with the task of trying to craft words and create punchy copy, or finally get that scene just right in the first draft of your novel.

Exploring a completely different dimension of life in your free time is a great way of preventing burnout. But nature also has specific benefits all its own.

Research has found evidence that people who spend more time outdoors in natural settings enjoy a higher quality of life than those who don’t, and even seem to experience better health, too.

It’s for this reason that “forest bathing” has taken off as a healthy pastime in Japan in recent times.

If you have a partner or friends who love the outdoors, or are able to find a group to tag along with, hiking can be a fantastic way of spending your free time.

Involve yourself in martial arts

Moving your body and working up a real sweat is a great way of getting out of your own head and distracting yourself from the nagging irritations of the writer’s life.

Doing martial arts, in particular, adds a whole new dimension to the experience, however.

Martial arts offer an avenue for the controlled and responsible expression of the violent tendencies which all people have somewhere deep down. Punching pads and bags can be a deeply cathartic and stress-relieving experience.

Training in martial arts should, of course, also teach you practical self-defence skills, which certainly doesn’t hurt.

Build something

Using your hands to build something physical is another great counterbalance to the cerebral life of the professional writer, and it’s a great way of creating a more balanced and well-rounded personality.

You can either take some courses, or buy some books, on DIY in order to make yourself more useful around the home, or you could explore more artistic avenues of craftsmanship.

You could set yourself the project of building a bookcase, or a chair, or even of carving an attractive lawn ornament out of wood.

Whatever the case may be, building things can be a very uplifting, satisfying, and life-affirming experience.


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