Play for the Day: Day 13 of the Writing Challenge

Sundays can be hard days on which to motivate, especially during the holidays. Whether or not you prescribe to a religion that considers Sunday a day of rest, it seems to be the one day of the week when things slow down a bit. Depending on where you live, stores might be closed (though less so during the holiday season), banks and municipalities certainly are, and it feels like a perfect time to sleep in, linger over brunch, and ignore your to-do list.

Writing does not need to feel like a work task you have to cross off. Just because you’re attempting to write daily, does not mean you can’t approach writing from a Sunday angle if you’re feeling a bit resentful of the goal of putting down new words. If you read yesterday’s post, you know that this challenge invites you to mix things up, to write on different projects if the spirit moves you. But not everything has to be a project with purpose. Even if you owe something to an editor, it can be refreshing to take a day now and then to write for play instead, just to keep your imagination sparking and to prevent burnout from setting in and throwing you off track.

If you’re feeling tired, if writing seems like the last thing you want to do, give yourself a break today and find a way to write that refreshes you instead of taxing your creativity. Put on a piece of instrumental music you love and jot down a paragraph or two about how it makes you feel. Take your journal to a café and people watch, and write down bits of their conversations. Doodle a list of rhyming words in a notebook and write a stanza or two of funny poetry using some of the rhymes. Don’t worry if it makes complete sense — just be playful. Write about a holiday feast — realistic or fantastical — and all the wonderful dishes being served. Think Dickens’s Christmas Carol or Harry Potter or Dr. Seuss. Don’t worry about where any of these things fit into the big picture of your writing. Consider them exercises, mental gymnastics, or creative stretching.

Give it a go and see what you come up with. Remember, all the words count. Just spend a few minutes writing and let your imagination roam. And tomorrow, you’ll be ready to tackle the scene that’s giving you trouble or figure out where your plot’s gone off course. Enjoy, and happy writing!