Anyone who’s stayed with children for an extended period of time knows that it can be, uh, boring. Repetitive songs, games, questions, injuries. It can get old after a while. Staring at the same four walls for hours on end can be suffocating.
Cabin fever is not a joke. My Myth Buster buddies did a challenge on cabin fever. Jaime and Adam holed themselves up in a cabin in the wilds of Alaska for a while with nothing to do. Adam almost went bonkers. They deemed it “Plausible.”
For the Stay-At-Home Writer/Dad this can be especially arduous. You need to find the next story idea. You need to experience life, in order to have something to write about. You need to get out of the house. Here’s what you can do.
Ignore the weather. Take your kid on a walk. Why? Because I said so. And it’s good for you. Don’t believe me? You want scientific proof that it’s good for you? Fine, read THIS. Bam. Happy now? I thought so.
There are a zillion good reasons to take your kid outdoors at least once a day. It’s good for you physically. It can stimulate your kid’s brain, and helps them burn off some energy. It provides you an opportunity to interact with other adults, and gets you out of your head for a while.
Volunteer for Special Assignments
Everybody needs groceries. Oil needs changing. Pets need vetting. It’s a good idea for you to take your kiddo on these outings about 50% of the time, as long as they can handle it, for all the reasons mentioned above. The other half of the time, let your spouse take a turn with junior and you go it alone. It’s good to get some time away from the stress of childcare, even if you’re just doing mundane errands.
Plan Semi-Regular Excursions
Both for yourself and for your progeny. Find age appropriate activities for your kid that are a short drive away. Maybe a park with their kind of playground equipment. Kids’ museum. Aquarium. You get the idea.
Do the same for yourself. Get a baby-sitter and two tickets to that thing that you love. Take your spouse out on a date. Watch a sports thing live. Go camping, fishing, truffle hunting, whatever works for you.
Suppose you’re writing a thriller about James Bond Jovi, the secret agent singing sensation, and you have a scene with a gunfight. You don’t own guns but you want to describe them accurately, so what do you do? Contact Such & Such Magazine about doing an article on weekend gun classes. Call up the local gun range, tell them you’re a writer for Such & Such Magazine, and want to do an article on their gun classes. Boom. Free class, article for your resume, cash in the bank, and you got to spend an afternoon shooting, information you can now use in your novel. Time well spent away from home.
Catch the Train to Vacation Station
Finally, a bit obviously, get the whole family out of the house every once in a while. Going to visit more family is fine, but if your budget can handle it I think it’s a great idea to take everyone somewhere they’ve never been. The more you learn along the way the more fodder you have for your writing. And it can be fun.