We’re roughly halfway through the gauntlet that is National Novel Writing Month, so now is definitely the appropriate time to hear about some of the methods that authors use to unwind. A little self-care, a little stopping to smell the roses, and your writing productivity will thank you.

These are all tried and tested ways that writers relax. They’re reliable things to try if the breakneck pace of NaNoWriMo is wearing down your physical and mental health. They’re also science based*, so attempt them with confidence.

*If you can’t trust dodgy pseudo-science articles on the web, what can you trust in these days of alternate facts?

1.Let the Little Things Go

don't care

Go ahead and research murder methods, weapons, poisoning, stab wounds, how much blood is contained in the human body, blood spatter patterns, reliable body disposal procedures, and the rate at which a corpse decomposes. Stop wondering if it’s true that your Google search history is the first thing the cops alway check. It is. But that’s OK. You’re letting go of those little worries.

2. Read For Pleasure


Eventually you do have to stop typing for the day and perhaps get ready for bed. Reading books full of people running around doing angst-ridden stressful things, making bad choices, getting tangled up in love triangles and cutting into your already limited sleeping time to do it is a surefire way to chill out. Chill. Out.

3. Research Marketing & Your Career


Get on social media during your infrequent breaks and experience the pleasure of immediately being bombarded with 100 different ways you should be marketing your books, but aren’t. 50 of them are not much of a platform anymore, you missed the train on 25 of them (Wat? Facebook algorithims? That’s…a type of animal, right? It’s not?) and the last 25 are already full TO THE BRIM with other poor, desperate writers. Plus they all cost too much. Ahhh. So relaxing.

4. Get Plenty of Rest

can't sleep

Lie in bed trying to convince yourself that the ideas your almost-asleep brain just came up with are not worth getting out of your nice warm cocoon for a pen. You’ll remember them. Think hard about your chances of surviving pets, puddles, sudden armchairs out of the dark, and legos.

5. Use the Time You Can’t Be Writing to Talk to your Imaginary Friends


(Joss Whedon as Numfar.) This gif is a stress reducer all by itself.

Although you aren’t physically writing, you can be working through your novel in your mind. Enact pretend scenes full of drama, passion, shouting, witty comebacks, and possibly some sex, with multiple unreal people. In the shower. Causing your family to suffer no worry whatsoever.

6. Start Drinking


TEA. I meant tea. And water. It’s important to stay hydrated. Water conducts electricity, and your brain is made of electrical pathways and if you’re hydrated those synapses conduct better. I’m pretty sure this was in a science study somewhere. If it wasn’t, it should have been because that just makes sense.

Maybe I need to go drink some water.




Featured image stocksnap.io & Josh Byers