Five Recreational Activities an Aspiring Writer May Want to Try

There are quite a few imagination-stimulating activities out there. Most of them are circumstantial or accidental, but either way, you’re probably familiar with a few of them. When you were a kid, you were probably goggle-eyed with wonder at the great mysteries and contraptions of life (say, the water faucet, for instance). This void where your knowledge was provided fuel for your imagination: You didn’t know how the toilet works, so you reasoned that there must be a monstrous toad at the bottom who sucks toilet water down for his enjoyment (fondly nicknamed “the Gitrog Monster” after the MTG card).

If you’re a writer, some of these activities are still worth doing. You’re a writer, and that means you’re in the works of imagination 24/7, but now and again you should take breaks. Most of these should be perfect for someone who wants to take a break from work in general, but I have carefully chosen ones that might give you some ideas as to the future of your writing.

Honorable mentions: watching movies and reading books. While these weren’t in my top five, they should be everyone’s top two. I would recommend these two above the rest of my suggestions. However, since I’ve recommended these options to you before this blog and most of you match movies and read book already, I figured the suggestion would be obsolete.

#5: Cosplay. I’ve tried my hand at it once or twice, but I was truly never very good. Cosplay is essentially dressing up and getting together with a few of your nerds friends to basically “play pretend” but for adults. Usually a lot of pictures are taken (my costumes have been historically recycled and of poor quality, so I don’t think I have any surviving photographs).

I’ve mentioned role play before and at length: cosplay is similar. The imagination is usually triggered by visuals: seeing Raphael from TMNT next to Darth Vader might give you an idea. Often, random things set off the imagination in ways that plotted ideas do not. Since many people cosplay as a hobby anyway, it shouldn’t be too hard to rope some of your friends into it as well.

#4: Drawing. Remember what I said about the imagination having visual triggers? Well, drawing is literally visualizing an image in your mind and putting it on paper. While I myself was never a very good artist, I drew characters on paper that I found myself wanting to write stories about.

Writing is one way to dredge up images out of your subconscious. You set out to make something “cool”: by the time you’ve sketched the landscape and drew shadows, it was looking like a desert on a distant planet. Upon adding further details, the landscape takes on a ghostly hue as three suns burn the skies. On a whim, you add a random, parched traveler into the mix…I wonder what his story is?

#3: Travel. Seeing the sights is another great way to spark your imagination into a frenzy. After all, there’s a reason why Peter Jackson though New Zealand was a perfect place to shoot The Lord of the Rings. As a result, most of the production was done in a place that we might think of as…well, magical. Otherworldly. But the facts remain: there indeed exists such a place on God’s green earth, and you can go there.

A change of scenery is what a lot of people do to take time off. When one says “I’m on vacation”, they usually mean that they’re somewhere on a remote, tropical island where the last thought on their mind is calling in to work. It’s a great place to contemplate the scenery–and whatever ideas that may surface in the murky waters of your imagination.

#2: Designing your own game. This is so similar to writing that I almost didn’t include it. With anything from designing a FIFA clone to scrabbling out plans for a pen-and-paper-based roleplaying game, designing a game gives me the same feel that writing does. Especially story-based games.

I’m not recommending any certain kind of game. Really, any game, video, paper, board, card, or RP, will do. But creating a game requires a considerable amount of stimulated imagination, and that’s something easily channeled into the writing of a story. I can’t count how many names and ideas I got from hours of designing failed games. That may be something you want to give a crack at.

#1: Play a decent RPG with friends who care about the story. This is a close third to reading books and watching movies. In this option, you’re experiencing a story with multiple entities (just like you do with books and movies); however, the big difference is that you’re roleplaying one of the characters. That means you have to think of something cool and heroic to say, problem solve your friends out of trouble, and think of a clever way to defeat the villain–sound like writing yet?

The great thing is that there are a ton of options out there: countless video games with roleplaying elements and robust story (unfortunately, not many newer games contain the latter) and plenty of older, pen-and-paper ones. It’s always a good option to immerse yourself in a story that you create while relaxing and taking a break from writing.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Be sure to check out my latest novel, Book 1 in the Praetors of Lost Magic Series, and our Publications page. Until then, writers!

Published by Van Ghalta

A cold, dark, mysterious character who purposefully wrote a story so that he could fit into it...A story where he himself WRITES stories, practices martial arts, blogs, plays airsoft, collects MTG trading cards, plays outdated video games, and writes weird, third-person bios for himself...

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