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
Some days you’ve got nothing, and it’s alright not to write.

10. Practice the timeless art of (self-)promotion.

Besides mom, who else is going to brag about you? Perhaps your LinkedIn profile is accumulating dust. Maybe it’s been a while since you’ve written a blog post. Consider revamping your website – or look into hiring someone to create one.


11. Bag the day.

Some days you’ve got nothing. That’s OK. The glorious part about freelancing is not having to feign working to avoid the boss’s disdain, because you are the boss. So, go to the movies; catch up on sleep. Do this long enough, and you know what’s required to get the job done. I promise: You will not backslide into binge watching Grace and Frankie or sleeping until noon because you knocked off at 2 p.m. Recharge, come back tomorrow. The work will still be there – ready to have its ass kicked.


Yes, creating a routine to keep your writing on track is integral to your success, but all routines (no matter how self-gratifying) lead to boredom and complacency. The writer who does not break free every once in a while will eventually break down. 


Aside from The Writer, Pete Croatto (Twitter: @PeteCroatto) has written for the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, Columbia Journalism Review, the Christian Science Monitor, and many other publications. He and his family live just outside Ithaca, New York.