Updated: Dec 11, 2019
Where I live in Loudoun County, the snow is falling thickly. According to the forecast, we are supposed to get up to 10 inches, which is a whopper of a storm for us in northern Virginia. So, for those who are able to stay home and receive this day as a gift of found time, I offer these 10 ideas for things to do on a snow day (the writer’s version):
1. Sit in bed with a cup of hot tea or coffee and peruse that book on writing you’ve been meaning to finish (in my case, Elizabeth Berg’s Escaping Into the Open: The Art of Writing True).
2. Take 20 (or 40 or 60) minutes to respond to a writing prompt. Here are three from Elizabeth Berg:
Describe combing the hair of a baby, a very old person, or your lover.
Write about your favorite cup.
You are allowed to relive one day or experience from the time you were thirteen. What do you choose? Now be your mother, doing the same thing; now your father; now your grandmother; now your grandfather.
3. Go to the Poetry Foundation's website and browse around for inspiration. You can search by collections, subjects (found under the Poems tab), or poets. Or you can download their Poetry app on your device and “spin” for poems on different topics. Or just pluck a poetry book off your shelf and dive in!
4. Go through your writer’s notebooks—the ones full of ideas and responses to writing prompts and first drafts—and see if there are any pieces of writing that you would like to take to the next level. Type them up and begin.
5. If you’re already in the process of revising something, let today be the day that you polish it until it shines. Using Duotrope (you can get a free trial) or Writer’s Market (7-day money-back guarantee), for example, find five markets to send it to. Then do it!
6. Pull out a stack of magazines and tear out images that speak to you. Create a collage, then enter into a dialogue with the collage or write a poem about what you see there.
7. Clear off your desk and file or throw things away so that your writing space will be more inviting. Add a candle to be lit when you’re writing.
8. Contact some writer friends about forming a peer review group. Consider what you’d like it to be (virtual or in-person, regular meetings or just sending out work for review when you have it?) and come to some agreements. Then send them a piece you’ve written, along with suggestions for the specific type of feedback you’d like to receive.
9. Take a walk in the snow. Notice the quality of the flakes—light or heavy, wet or dry—and how they feel on your skin. Notice the cold and the sound your boots make as they crunch along. Notice everything. To quote the poet Mary Oliver: “Instructions for living a life. Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it.”
10. Rest. Let your day be slow and full of appreciation. Take a nap. Daydream. Stay off your devices and let the laundry wait. If you have children (or a dog!), play with them in the snow. Let yourself be fully present to the experience.
If none of these feel right to you, make your own list of 10 things! If you have any ideas to share, please do so in the comments section below. I would love to hear from you.
Enjoy your day!