Whenever I’ve had the opportunity to ask questions of my role models (both actors and writers), my number one ask is, “How do you stay sane when you’re not working?”
Almost everyone has had variations on the same response: find another artistic outlet that will help fuel your creativity, and remind you that you like to create. Sometimes the business of shoving your art into the world will make you forget that at some point, you really loved doing this. Presumably, that’s why you’re doing this.
Writing actually started as my “sanity escape.” It became the thing I could do in between acting projects; I could do it all on my own, without relying on casting directors to decide weather or not I could pursue something. My first novel was born from this few hours of daily artistic respite.
Now, writing still mostly serves that function, but at times I need a break from the editing and tweaking when my brain begins to fry. For us writers, I recommend finding something you can do with your hands. Creating something tangible is totally theraputic as well as fun, and doesn’t use the same center of your brain that creating with words does. Start with those adult coloring books that are insanely popular, and then try something that you’ve always wanted to do, even if you think you’ll be bad at it. The point of sanity escapes is there’s no such thing as bad! Painting is also a great place to start, or modeling with clay, or trying your hand at calligraphy.
Recently I’ve stumbled upon metal stamping. I love jewelry (beading and weaving jewelry is also super satisfying), and I found out about metal stamping and decided, why not? I could definitely do that. Metal stamping is exactly what it sounds like: instead of a set of rubber stamps, they’re made of a durable silver metal (I’m terrible and I don’t know exactly what type). To make jewelry with them, I buy different small plates and charms and hit the stamps with a hammer onto the plates. Hitting something to make art might actually be the most satisfying feeling out there.
Not only is metal stamping an amazing little escape, but it allows me to utilize my love of words as well. Single words and longer quotes both make for some powerful, personal jewelry.
A good friend of mine has recently stumbled upon a passion for baking in her artistic frustration. The outcome has been calming and reinvigorating for her, and delicious for me! If you’re stuck not knowing where to start in finding your sanity escape, think of something you loved doing as a child, or something you wish you could do “if only you had the time.” Periods of artistic blahs are exactly the time to pick that back up. You can also look at the things you tend to do when you’re procrastinating. Watching TV or scrolling Facebook aren’t exactly what I mean, but there’s stuff to draw from there as well. What shows are you obsessed with and why? Try honing a physical craft that will make you feel the way those shows make you feel (although if it’s Game of Thrones, maybe don’t go in a violent route. Think more fantasy, otherworldly).
Let us know what sanity escapes work for you! You might have to switch things up and try other modes every so often, and we’d love to hear your ideas and inspirations- potentially to try them ourselves.
Tallie’s metal stamped jewelry can be seen and purchased on Neckalcesforchange.org.
BookHive does beta reader editorial research for authors with Fiction (all kinds), YA/Middle Grade & Memoir manuscripts.
Tallie Gabriel is an actor, writer, and BookHive social media maven. She’s a member of InViolet Theatre and works with BEDLAM Theatre in NYC.