As a child whenever the sky turned gray and it rained, I'd sing the song, "Rain, rain go away, come again another day." I always hoped that my voice was enchanting enough to stop the rain so that my day wouldn't be gray and gloomy, but sadly my voice never held any fairy-like power.
As an adult, those gray days come not solely because of dark clouds hovering overhead or a tsunami like downpour outside of my window. They come because of worrying that's disrupted my sleep and caused my morning sluggishness. They come when I turn on the news as I brush my teeth in the morning and hear something so disheartening...again. They come in multiple hues of gray to scent the start or non-start of my day for a myriad of reasons too long to list.
On those gray days, no amount of singing childhood or adult songs, nor the beeping of my alarm clock, or knowing I have an impending deadline for an article, can make the prospect of sitting at my computer and writing seem worthy of my time. I'd much rather stay curled up in bed. Sometimes with the covers pulled over my head.
It's a struggle to 'write" and shine then. Still, like most writers, I grumble and frown but gradually push through remembering that gray clouds eventually make way for sunshine. I also implement the following tips that you too may find helpful to ward off the effects of a gray day.
Don't slack on the basics. Get the proper amount of sleep at night, eat healthier, get regular exercise, and make sure to incorporate joyous activities into your life. When you feel at your optimum, physically and emotionally, you write at your optimum.
Use a timer. I recently read an article about writing in which the author suggested using a timer to set a writing goal. By scheduling an interval of time for writing, be it fifteen minutes or thirty minutes, you're more apt to block out that time to produce a body of work especially if you give yourself a small treat afterwards, once the timer goes off.
Get in the zone! Whenever I've watched Serena Williams, a twenty-three times grand slam champion, playing in a competition, I could tell when she was in the zone. She was focused, allowing no distractions to frazzle her or turn her mind away from her goal. It was Game On! As writers, we too need to get in the zone during our gray days and hype ourselves up when we feel too low spirited to write. Sometimes we have to fake it until we can write it, urging ourselves on. When those gray clouds loom overhead we need to get in our best writer's stance and say, "Game On!"
Phone a friend. Phone a close friend who will encourage you to shake off those blues and get back on your horse and "write" into the sunset. Good friends offer us nuggets of truth even when we might not want to hear it. We all need friends like that, who can shift our way of thinking from being pessimistic to optimistic.
Give yourself permission to take a mental health break. A lot has been going on. Maybe it has affected you more than you want to admit, I know it has for me. Take some time to reflect, make changes in your life and create change in the world in whatever way you can if that is what is burdening you the most. Take care of you and remove as many stressors from your life that you can. Offer yourself what you so often offer lovingly to others. Those stories you need to tell will be waiting for you, patiently waiting to pick up wherever you left off. And you will have gathered the strength to make them even better.