Due to some very busy life circumstances, I haven't been writing anything besides blog posts for the past few months. Sure, I might technically have time, but mental energy is another question. Knowing that these circumstances are temporary, I've given myself permission not to write fiction for the time being.
But that doesn't mean I'm not being creative. Here's what I'm doing instead...
Blog posts are keeping me sane. The act of putting one word after another, of making a coherent argument or narrative in a set length, of finding the right phrasing, is something my soul needs. Blogging takes less mental energy than fiction, and I can knock out a finished piece in a few hours, so it's staying in my life.
Other kinds of art are happening, ones where there's no pressure to be publishable or even particularly good. I'm knitting and contra dancing and working on learning to waltz. These things still put me in the state of flow the way writing (ideally) does, and that's good for my mental health.
Setting up my new household requires lots of thought and a certain amount of creativity, not to mention learning. There are plenty of spaces to organize – not so much decorating, yet, but that will come. I'm trying to listen to the house, to figure out what each space needs, to think outside the box...which is why the wardrobe is doing pantry duty in the kitchen and the dining table is placed diagonally in the dining room. I have plants to take care of now, both inside and out, and that's creative too.
A writing hiatus also involves looking around at the real world to see what's out there, to replenish the well from which creativity flows. So I've been enjoying soaking up my new neighbourhood, meeting my neighbours, checking out the local park and the nearby businesses – though there's so much yet to explore. And I held a largish house party for the first time in pretty much ever – more planning, more creativity.
And, of course, there's media consumption. I'm not one of those writers who can't read when she's writing, thank goodness. Because life has been so busy, I haven't exactly been reading more than usual. But I have watched more movies than usual, which fills the creativity well in a different way. In the last month or so I've seen The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and the 2002 Spider-Man. Again. And I am still reading. (In case you're curious, my last five reads include Jane Eyre, Turtleduck Press's own Fey Touched by Erin Zarro, Passage by Connie Willis, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe.)
I'm also still keeping up with some of the other things that come along with being a writer. My blogging schedule hasn't missed a day. I'm participating in my regular critique group. I'm reading my usual writing-related blogs. Social media has suffered, though, but that's okay.
If you're a writer, what do you do when you're not writing? How do you stay sane?