What to do With Your Body While Your Brain is Trying to Write

I can usually sit down and write a story without too much trouble— once it’s plotted and outlined. But when I’m at the plotting stage, sitting in front of a blank screen simply does not work. For whatever reason, it’s easier to let my mind flow free when the rest of me is doing something else. I have spoken with other writers and found this is a common problem. If you share in this, here are a few no-cost solutions.

It’s important while selecting an activity that you don’t choose something that requires a great deal of thought— the idea is that the action is mindless. So I don’t recommend crossword puzzles, sudoku, or driving.

Adult coloring pages Free coloring pages can be found here and here. (These sites have the fewest ads I could find.) You can also find Mazes here.

Solitaire. Most computers come with basic card games installed, and probably other games as well. If I’m trying to plot while on my computer, solitaire is my go-to.

Needlework. If you know the basics of knitting and/or crochet, you can make very simple patterns without much thought. Pick something that repeats the same stitch, so you don’t have to pay attention to a pattern. Here are some Easy free crochet dishcloth patterns on Ravelry (you need cotton yarn for these) and Easy free knit scarf patterns on Ravelry (yarn type varies).

Note that Ravelry requires a free signup— but it also doesn’t have ads. If you don’t want to use Ravelry, that’s no problem! Just google “easy free crochet dishcloth pattern” (or knit scarf pattern) and you’ll find quite a few.


But my main plotting activity is Exercise. I usually run or walk, but you can also take a bike ride (not in heavy traffic), or do housework or gardening. I usually choose something that lets me stop and make notes, but if you’ve got a good memory, you can go for a swim!


Hopefully some of these activities will occupy your body while your mind soars free and delivers you the words you are looking for.

Sign up for my free monthly newsletter and never miss a writing article! Or subscribe by RSS