If you use the Internet at all or frequent book stores, you probably know that about two years ago, adult colouring books became a huge fad. Colouring books started making book stores’ top bestseller lists and everyone from your therapist to your sister’s yoga instructor was praising colouring books as the cure for stress and anxiety. Like all other fads, the colouring book boom seems to be slowly losing its momentum. Book stores are seeing their colouring book sales slipping and we aren’t being bombarded with nearly as many articles about the health benefits of colouring as we used to, but that’s no reason to abandon them entirely. If you’re a writer, you need to be colouring and I have five reasons why.
It really does relieve stress and anxiety
Even if you don’t have an anxiety disorder, all writers are prone to a kind of stress that is unique to writers. Writers worry about things like never being commercially successful with their writing, no one liking or caring about anything they write, and never being satisfied with any of their finished projects no matter how many times they’ve ripped it apart and rewritten it. All of these worries combined creates an unhealthy amount of pressure on writers. The pressure to be perfect is unattainable and therefore destructive. I’m sure you’ve felt like the burden of all of these worries is a very real and physical weight resting on your shoulders, dragging you down and making you exhausted. I know I have.
The good news is that your sister’s yoga instructor wasn’t full of nonsense when she advocated colouring books to combat these kinds of anxieties. There is a lot of scientific evidence backed by psychologists and therapists to support the claim that colouring can help reduce and manage stress levels. Colouring requires a kind of calm, quiet focus that can soothe the overactive mind and create a sense of peace in the colourer. Even just 15-20 minutes of colouring a day can leave you feeling calmer and more capable of tackling everyday stresses and obstacles.
A relaxed writer is a productive writer so get to colouring away those worries!
It’s like brainstorming for lazy people
When I’m afflicted with the dreaded writer’s block, nothing revives my creativity like a good long colouring session. Sometimes I’ll spend a few days colouring without doing much of anything else, but I’m still working on my latest project.
But how is that possible?
When we’re writing our manuscripts, believe it or not, we’re using the left side of our brains, the side that facilitates logic and structure. It’s the side that’s responsible for monitoring our use of grammar, the structure of our plot and other technical details about how the book fits together. These are important aspects of writing a book, but when the left half of our brain is in overdrive for extended periods of time, the right side of our brain can get bored and go to sleep on us. If you’ve been writing like a whirlwind lately but feel like you’ve come to a brick wall with your story that you can’t break through, chances are you’re trying to wake up the right side of your brain but it doesn’t want to get out of bed to help you out.
When we colour, we’re exercising the right half of our brains, the side that fosters imagination and creative inspiration. We may not be consciously aware of it, but when we take up activities that demand focus from the right half of our brains, we open the door to our own imaginations. Even though I’m not consciously thinking about my book when I’m colouring, ideas for where to take the plot next and how to develop my characters will frequently wander through my head as I’m filling in all that white space on my page with brilliant colours. It’s like I’m brainstorming in turbo mode without even trying!
The next time you have writer’s block, try sitting down to colour for a few minutes or even a few hours to see if you can put the left half of your brain to sleep for a while and wake the right half of your brain from its slumber.
You can surround yourself with your own inspiration
What do you do with all those finished colouring pages you’ve spent hours and hours lovingly bringing to life with your own touch of colour? Hang them up on the walls, of course! Now what the heck does interior decorating have to do with writing? A lot, actually.
A bright, cheerful writing space filled with pleasing colours and nice decor is the perfect place to write a masterpiece. You’re surrounded by things that you love and things that inspire you, which helps stimulate that right side of your brain that likes to go to sleep on you too often. A writing space filled with your own artwork adds a personal touch to your writing environment. You have a unique connection to the decor on your walls which only strengthens the positive effects of being surrounded by creative stimulus.
If you’re looking for nice big poster-sized colouring pages to fill in and frame, you can find them at your local dollar store as well as most book stores that sell colouring books.
It’s a really cheap hobby!
We all know the broke writer stereotype. Maybe you defy the stereotype or maybe you embody it. Either way, everyone likes having fun for minimal cost. Colouring is one of those creative outlets that can be as expensive or as cheap as you want it to be.
If you’re just starting out and don’t really know if colouring is something you want to stick with in the long term, just hit up your local dollar store. You can find lots of great adult colouring books and poster colouring sheets for only a few bucks. You can find all kinds of colouring tools there, too. From pencil crayons to gel pens to markers, from matte to glittery to metallic, you can pick up a variety of things to colour with without hurting your wallet.
For those who want to dive head-first into the world of colouring, Coles and other chain bookstores sell lots of beautiful, intricate colouring books for all kinds of interests. My personal favourite is the Harry Potter colouring book. Prismacolor pencil crayons and huge bulk packs of gel pens in stacks of 100 or more will more than satisfy your insatiable colouring cravings as well.
Whatever your budget is, colouring is a hobby that can be enjoyed by anyone.
Isn’t it obvious? Why do something to relax and stoke the fires of creativity if it isn’t fun? If you’re not having any fun, then it’s hardly worth doing at all. Life is too short to waste doing things that make you miserable. Just like your writing, you should be colouring because there’s something about it that you enjoy and have a real interest in.
Colour to relieve stress and anxiety. Colour to inspire yourself. Colour to decorate your writing space. Colour to give your bank account a rest, but most of all…
Colour to have fun!
Copyright © 2017 A.A. Frias