Committing to your writing means committing only to your writing…right?
Not necessarily. I am a firm believer in having other interests and passions.
I’m a dancer as well as a writer. In fact, I was a dancer before I was a writer. My parents put me in my first dance class when I was three years old. I started with tap, and later added ballet, jazz, and modern to my repertoire. In high school, English was by far my favorite subject, but my free time was spent at the dance studio. I chose a college where I could double-major in Dance and English Lit, and my first job after graduating was as an assistant editor at a group of dance magazines.
These days, you’ll find me in dance or yoga class several times a week. I also perform whenever I’m able. Of course, there are days when I have to trade in a favorite dance class for a butt-in-chair writing session, and I can’t commit to rehearsing for a show if it conflicts with a writing deadline. But in the immortal words of Taylor Swift, I can’t stop, won’t stop moving. Dance is too much a part of me.
What does that have to do with writing? A lot, actually—and not just because I’m currently in editorial revisions for my second YA novel, which is about a teen dancer with body image issues. When I’m dancing, I’m able to get out of my head and live in my body. I can leave whatever I’m stressing about in my writing behind, if only for an hour or two. Getting lost in movement gives my writer-brain a rest. Dancing relaxes me and reminds me to breathe. It also helps me look at the world in a new way. More than once, I’ve had a plot- or character-related epiphany smack in the middle of a plié or pirouette.
So what’s your non-writing hobby? Do you love cooking? Are you into photography? Are you a runner or a knitter or a Netflix fanatic? Whatever it is, keep doing it. Even if, sometimes, it feels like you should be writing. Giving your brain a break and challenging your mind, heart, or body in a different way can refresh and renew you for your next writing session. It can inspire you, too—new ideas dwell in the unlikeliest of places.
Kathryn Holmes grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, where she was an avid reader and an aspiring writer from an early age. She now lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and piles upon piles of books. A graduate of The New School’s MFA in Creative Writing program, Kathryn works as a freelance dance journalist, among other writing gigs. The Distance Between Lost and Found is her debut novel.