I recently got a question from FP. I am going to call her Francoise Peach

Francoise claims she has a focusing problem. She loves to write, but when she sits down to write; she loses her focus and forgets where she is going with her writing.

Ms. Peach, it sounds like to me that you might not be writing what you are passionate about. Try thinking back to when you felt like you were on fire and the words flowed faster than your nimble fingers could type. Did you have days like that? You can get them back.

I strongly believe that when we find ourselves in that kind of frustrating situation that we need to remove ourselves from it. We are not being lazy. We are doing ourselves a major favor.

I have spent lots of hours toiling over a column, art work or styling my hair only to realize that I needed to get away from the keyboard pencil and flat iron. For my own good. For my own sanity.

So I would like to give you ten good ways to take care of yourself while giving your creativity some space to come back into your life.

1) Take a walk. So many people say they get inspired when they leave the house and travel through the neighborhood. But bring something to write with. Nothing worse than being struck with a great idea that you can’t jot down. Can’t tell you how many NY Times bestselling ideas I have lost while taking in nature.

2) Go to the movies. Observe someone else being amusing or melancholy and tap into their emotions. Just don’t you become melancholy.

3) Meet friends and talk about anything but writing. Listen attentively and see if a short story idea comes from one of them sharing an event in their lives. You can always give them credit when the book comes out.

4) Take all your black clothes out of the closet and hit them with the brush that removes dog and cat hair. That might keep you busy until Labor Day.

5) Before going to sleep, write a couple of questions down – how can I get inspired again? Where is my protagonist going with his/her life? Can I come up with a better opening line than, “It was a dark and dreary night?” Upon awakening, jot down whatever comes to mind. It may not make sense right away, but keep doing that and trust that you will get an answer or two.

6) Take out a legal or a drawing pad and write or draw with your non-dominant hand. Leave the judging to American Idol. Just have fun.

7) Ask people who you admire what they do when they get stuck. On the whole, most people do want to help and knowing that you are not alone should make you feel a little more empowered.

8 ) Take the whole day off.

9) Ask yourself if you can sit in front of your computer and write for five minutes. Set a timer and after five minutes, walk away from the computer or your writing pad. You might be surprised to see how fast five minutes go and you just might give yourself another five and then another five.

10) This one I want you to fill in. What can you do to take your creativity up a notch or two?

To submit a question for elizabeth’s column, please e-mail elizabeth at [email protected]. Every letter is important and reviewed carefully. However, because elizabeth receives a very large number of letters, she cannot answer every one. Thank you for understanding.

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