Can a writer write when not actually writing?
Of course we can. In fact, ‘non writing’ activities take up a huge chunk of our time. Many of us fill with guilt when not sitting in front of laptop writing, but to be honest so much of our writing ideas and skills come to life when we are not busy writing. These activities may ‘take us away’ from our writing, but I believe they also enrich our writing by providing ideas and additional knowledge and invaluable connections in the writing community.
Here are the top five activities that I have enjoyed ‘taking me away’ from my actual writing time this year.
I am part of both a writers’ group (FAW) and a writers critique group. We meet 3 Saturday afternoons every month. The writers’ group have some excellent speakers and workshops, and the critique group provides me with valuable feedback on my writing.
Attended the Sydney Writers festival and Writers Unleashed in the Shire. Some regional festivals sound awesome and on the radar for next year.
Participated on the committee for our own local Writers Unleashed festival this August. I learnt so much during this on how much is involved in organising an event like this, and connected with a huge number of fantastic writers.
Newsletters & Social Media
Sourcing materials on educational and informative news on all things writing for the monthly newsletter for FAW Sutherland has been fun and increased my own knowledge on what goes on out there in the writers world.
As Social Media officer for the Writers Unleashed I have put together a large number of posts to promote our festival and its many fantastic speakers. This has provided me with new skills and knowledge that I can now use on my own social media updates.
Author Book Launches
Many writers are introverts and public speaking does not always come easy. Attending book launches not only is a way to network and meet likeminded people, but also a way to learn what an audience enjoy and want to hear at book launches. What works and what doesn’t. Small gatherings of close friends and publishing supporters at book stores or libraries seem a winner. Even better with a bit of champagne to relax everyone! I frequently visit our local bookstore Anna’s Shop Around the Corner in Cronulla for some amazing talks. A true gem for writers!
Books & Podcasts
I love Podcasts. They make commuting a breeze! My favourites are @So You Want to be a Writer and Talking Aussie Boooks.
Reading as many books across a varied number of genres is essential. It hones our own craft and supports other writers.
To get as many into my busy days I use different media. My Kindle when travelling light. My audio when driving/exercising or doing housework. And a real book, the best, when I do find time to sit and enjoy the read. Which unfortunately is not always easy working full time as a planner and trying to fit in my writing in my spare time left.
Any writing course will hone your craft even if not in the genre you’re currently writing in. My MS is a romance suspense novel, but I write short stories across various genres.
My most recent course was on publishing children’s books and was fantastic. Learning expands your mind and never wasted. The AWC have so many great courses both in class and online. Check them out and build up your writer’s tool-kit.
Of course in the end actually sitting down to write is the only thing that will get your MS finished. But all of above still assist when you do sit in front of your laptop.
At least by writing about what gets me away from writing I actually got some writing done!
What do you find gets you away from writing , but also helps you in your writing?