Beating Writer’s Block: Take a Bath, or Go For a Swim

Bath or Swim

When it comes to having a mental block – including Writer’s Block – it can often result from stress. Thankfully, almost everyone has access to either a bath or a swimming pool to unwind. A bath is more relaxing than a shower in which to pass some time, allowing you the opportunity to let your mind wander, to use different scents, and to escape from the pressures of regular life. If you’re coming towards the end of the day, you might consider having a bath before writing – it will help separate the busyness of the working day from the writing time you’ve set aside for yourself.

At the same time, taking the time to go for a swim allows for you to unwind in water in one of the most relaxing forms of exercise you can do. As well as ensuring you get some exercise in your week, and getting your blood flow going to help you think clearly, swimming is also an excellent way of relieving some stress.

When you swim makes no difference, so long as you leave yourself time to write something afterwards (but make sure you’ve dried off first!) The important thing is that whether you swim or you take a bath, you allow yourself to enjoy it. I would recommend alternating between each, if you find they help you unwind before writing, to ensure you don’t become bored with one. It also helps to save on water costs if you write daily; having a bath, while relaxing at the time, can also cause some stress when the bills come in.

Action Time! When you’ve spent your time in the water, you might consider writing about it, or writing down anything you might have thought of while you were bathing or swimming. Did it make you feel relaxed? Would your protagonist feel the same way? Similarly, what does your protagonist do to relax at the end of the day?

Taking note of these things is not just important for your character development, it can help you focus on your story once again, as well as providing the aforementioned benefits for you.

If this becomes a regular occurrence for you, you might consider writing more about water; describe the perfect beach setting, or a fresh water spring in the middle of a jungle; write about your protagonist’s first time seeing the ocean – or your own – and how it made them feel; describe a storm, and the effects it has on your life and on the life of your main character. These exercises should help you hone your writing skills, concentrate your writing on life experiences that can be used in your book, and help you put words down on the page.

If you found that this helps, think more about the regular, often overlooked daily activities that you do to unwind, and write about how your characters might feel in your position – especially if they have a lot going on in their lives!

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About Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is a writer, born, raised and still living in Dublin. By day he's a student and bookseller, by night he writes fiction and uses social media.
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