Things To Do When You’re Not Writing

Sometimes it feels as though the only way to be productive is to get more words on the page, but you can’t be writing constantly.

It’s incredibly important to take writing breaks, especially after finishing a first draft. That’s the best time to distance yourself from a project for a while, to come back with fresh eyes.

Here are some things to do when you’re not writing…


Reading is one of the best things for a writer to do besides write. Reading makes writers better. Read books within your genre, or outside your genre. Short fiction, long fiction. And while you’re reading, ask questions like

  • What direct and indirect characterization is the author using to define their characters?
  • Does the protagonist have agency? What choices are they making?
  • What’s the author’s ratio of dialogue to description?
  • What about what you’re reading is making you want to continue? The conflict, character, a concept?


Are you artistically inclined? Try drawing, painting, sketching, watercolour, whatever interests you. It’s fun, works on your creative mind, and who knows what will go on in your subconscious while you’re working. This is also a great time to start thinking about cover art, and what symbols and images are important to your story.


Researching is a great thing for writers to do during breaks. Research topics relevant to your book, especially if you write historical or realistic fiction.

It’s also an ideal time to start learning about the industry. About traditional and self publishing, which might be best for you, marketing, querying, all that.

Most of all, remember to be kind to yourself, and to be patient in between writing sessions.

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