A group of published UK-based authors and illustrators of picture books, children's and YA.

Ask the Allsorts: What Do You Do When You’re Not Writing?

Janet Edwards

I relax by going for country walks, or painting watercolour landscapes. Both of these take me physically away from the computer and writing, though my subconscious must keep working because it often comes up with plot ideas during country walks.

I catch up on some lost time with my husband and toddler, and completely bury myself for a few days in all the books and TV I’ve neglected over the past months! *cough* Downton Abbey *cough*

Liz de Jager

I relax by watching EVERYTHING I’ve recorded from TV during the time I’ve been writing or editing.  I’ve just mainlined two seasons of Teen Wolf and I’m slightly hysterical because I love Stiles so much.  We also finished Breaking Bad and I’m catching up on Game of Thrones. Basically: I watch every single box-set I missed out on. I also read SO much.  Everything needs to be crammed into my head in a short space of time.  I also go to gym because when I write, health and fitness fall by the wayside. Also: I make new playlists.  Obsessively.

Bryony Pearce

Relax? When I’m between projects I’m usually deep cleaning the house (which hasn’t seen a duster since I got THE idea), going to the gym (to lose the biscuit weight) and looking after the kids, as usual. If I have time I’ll also be catching up on the TV programmes I’ve been recording and not watching, seeing the friends I’ve been neglecting, and working my way through my TBR pile.

Isabel Atherton

A good work out on my elliptical machine while watching something on Netflix, followed by reading some great books. Sometimes I’ll skip this and have a quiet glass of wine with my husband.

Zoe Marriott

For the first week I have the attention span of a gnat. I start a million tasks but finish none of them, and talk to myself a lot. Then there’s a blissful week where I relax, read, watch films, and go out – like, outside my house, with makeup and everything! Then there’s that last week, where I know I have to start work again soon so I freak out and start mainlining my TBR pile and read six books in one day…

Rhian Ivory

I like to go to a National Trust property and find out something new.

I also like to get into a box set, have recently (I know late to the party!) discovered Breaking Bad which I’m addicted to, no pun intended.

And finally I like to read all the books that have been sitting there tempting me while I’ve been working.

Rachel Ward

I go to the gym, walk the dog, take photos, and go and see films in the middle of the day. This year I’ve also promised myself that I will try painting (pictures, not rooms).

Abi Burlingham

I mostly relax by either being outside with nature or being creative. I love to watch films, draw and paint, read, listen to music, go out for meals and take the hound for walks… but these things are interspersed with my writing on a day to day basis. I can’t not write for more than a few days or I start grumbling like a bear in a bad mood! 

Bea Davenport

I had to look up the word ‘relax’ in the dictionary… Seriously, I’m no good at it, unless I’m (a) abroad on holiday or (b) it’s Christmas Day. Without those periods of suspended animation, when I’m forced to slow down, I can’t switch off. Bad for my health, I know – but I’m aiming to get better at it, one of these days!

Dan Smith

Well, things are pretty busy at the moment, but it’s important to find a bit of time to relax, right? Working out a few times a week keeps me feeling fit and gives me a good excuse to veg out of the sofa with a film/tv series. Reading, of course. And my special treat? PS3. I grew up with gaming and have discovered that it’s a great way to switch off Danworld and just . . . not . . . think.’

Imogen Howson

Cooking and baking! My favourites are chocolate-chip cookies and banana loaf because they make my daughters think I’m a good mother. I just had my first attempt at marmalade (it set, hooray!) and next I’m planning on trying out croissants.

Alex Campbell

It probably makes me sound like a right girly swot, but time off to relax means time to think up new story ideas. I get so excited about starting afresh, notebook, pen, imagination, (glass of wine), and having the time and space to just let my imagination off the reins – outside of deadlines and eternal edits and writers’ block…….

Robin Stevens

Here’s the thing: when I want to relax, what I do is . . . write. Writing’s always been my safe space, the place I go to calm down and live someone else’s life for a while. I can’t do without it! There really isn’t any time between projects for me, and that’s the way I like it.

Katy Moran

If there isn’t a terrifying deadline on the horizon, I just seem to get swept up in the rest of my life – children, keeping the house under control. The standard of catering probably goes up somewhat during the week when I do most of the cooking, and I’d like to say the same for the standard of cleaning but that would be a big fat lie. In truth, I very rarely take a break from writing, and when I do, it’s usually to have a baby, which I’m shortly about to do for the third time!

Rose Mannering

In between projects I tend to madly do all the things (and work) I’ve put off whilst writing. However, something I love to do to relax is watch booktube videos. I’m a booktuber (a youtuber who talks about books) and watching videos about what other people are reading with tea and cake helps me unwind.

Mo O’Hara

At the moment , this is how I relax. I dangle shiny things in front of cute kittens. I’m sure it is a documented way of reducing blood pressure and it stops them jumping on the computer when I’m trying to work. Darn, I was supposed to be talking about relaxing not work. Right, a glass of wine and Dr Who or Sherlock also works for me. And that with a sleepy kitten on my lap- Ah, bliss.securedownload

Kendra Leighton

I get very few days off (being self-employed often means no weekends, boo!), so when I do get time to relax I like to escape into my imagination with a good book or curl up with the boyfriend and a DVD. When I have more time, I love testing out new recipes (usually naughty desserts) or heading to town for an overdue catch-up with friends.

Laure Eve

I catch up on my reading. *tiny violin sound*

I went on holiday last September for two weeks and did nothing but read solidly. It was basically glorious, because I never get time to read like that when I’m writing.

Natasha Ngan

I don’t really ever have a gap between projects – I’m always so eager to get on with a new story! – so I try and make sure I take time off every day, even if it’s just an hour or so. I can’t recommend joining gym classes enough. I’m not a huge fan of long stints in the gym but classes are so much fun, and they’re a great place to meet people and have a social life outside of talking to your characters in your head! And the workout gets your blood going, so you feel reenergised when you go back to work.

Helen Douglas

I usually get stuck into a box set or tackle some of the books on my to-read pile. Reading and/or watching other people’s work is hugely inspiring. In the summer I try to get away and travel somewhere, but I always take my ideas notebook with me. Writing is more of an addiction than a chore (most of the time)!

And me?

I catch up on my reading, watch TV, visit friends and, if the weather’s good enough, try to tame the garden!

How do you relax when you’re not writing? Tell us in the comments!

Emma Pass Photo
Emma Pass
Emma Pass has been making up stories for as long as she can remember. Her debut novel, ACID, is out now, and will be followed by another stand-alone thriller for young adults, THE FEARLESS, on 24th April 2014. By day, she works as a library assistant and lives with her husband and crazy greyhound G-Dog in the North East Midlands.


This entry was posted on January 27, 2014 by and tagged , , .

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