Parallel work: What to do when the words won’t come

You can't write all day, every day. Here are 11 activities to help you shake things up without losing any momentum.

Parallel Work- Running
Going to the gym, or embarking on other physical activity is vital for freelance writers.

7. Research writers’ groups and organizations.

I joined the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA) in late 2016. It was not an easy decision, since I can’t buy a pair of jeans without feeling like I’ve pushed my family into a financial black hole. But I made back that year’s membership fee (and more) when I landed a pitch thanks to an editor I met at ASJA’s annual conference in New York City. Attending that conference led me to my agent, who revived my long-dormant proposal into my first book contract. The biggest gains were not financial. Spending two days swapping war stories with other writers was priceless. 


This year, my spending spree continued when I joined Freelance Success, a popular writers’ forum run by Jennie Phipps. For just $99 a year, I’ve accumulated advice and vented with other seasoned writers. It’s been awesome.

Speaking of which…

8. Talk to another writer.

Forget DM or email or texting. Pick up the phone and talk to a real, live human being who’s also in this crazy business. Even better, meet for coffee and fortify your soul over muffins and gentle complaining. 

9. Tackle other projects.

Jot notes for an essay. Write a pitch for a long-admired magazine. Touch base with editors who have gone radio silent. A week ago, I sent a pitch, applied to an online job, and emailed some editors to follow up on pitches before boomeranging to this column. Work leads to more work.