Writing Gone Stale? Start Colouring

Colouring – it’s not just for kids. It’s also for writers. Adult colouring books have been around for a while now. And by ‘adult’ I mean they’re more complicated than ones for the kids, not that they’ve got er, ‘adult’ subject matter (maybe yours do, I’m not judging).

Colour for balance

They’re marketed as therapy, as part of the ‘mindfulness’ movement that cropped up a few years back and talked about meditation etc to help us live “in the moment”. The idea being that this can help with stress and anxiety by getting us to experience life as it is now, rather than getting caught up in our worries.

Colour for creativity

I’ve been given a few colouring books. They’re appealing because they cover not only things I like (Cats, Alice in Wonderland, owls) they also provide me with a simple creative outlet that isn’t writing.

You see I love writing, but sometimes it’s more than my creative mind needs. It involves a lot of cognition especially if you’re working on a chunky novel, managing several story-lines or characters. Sometimes you need to let your brain relax but give it a bit more to concentrate on than Netflix’s latest binge-fest.

Colour for your unconscious

Enter the humble colouring book. You don’t have to be a great artist, the sketching part is done for you. Initially I wasn’t sure about them. As a child, colouring books were often the source of stress, as my overwhelming perfectionism did away with any ‘fun’ I might have had. Now though, I’m older and wiser (sort of), and I’m less caught up with getting the right colours in the right places. I just go with the flow as it were, and my focus is entirely on the picture. Keeping within the lines, creating patterns, picking colours; simple choices leading to the simple satisfaction of gradually completing a picture.

And whilst I colour, my unconscious brain gets a gentle workout – a low impact one if you will, allowing it to make connections and re-charge for the next writing session. I keep a notebook to hand when I’m colouring just in case I have an epiphany.

What do you think? Do you do colouring? Or perhaps you’ve got another creative way to de-stress? Please share in the comments.

Related reads

Can Writing By Hand Boost Your Creativity?

How to be UN-productive

5 Ways You Can “Write” Without Writing

Find out more about my books

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