As well as writing, I also act and dance. I’d paint and sing too, if I wasn’t awful at both of those. (Gave them a damn good try though).
Acting is brilliant for writing (and vice versa). Words sound different spoken out loud (try reading a page of Shakespeare, then stand up and perform it. It’s utterly different). When you speak someone else’s lines, you learn to grasp someone else’s rhythm and tricks. It teaches you how to dig through the words to find the one word that gives the important clue to character. You learn how accents can shape and change the way a person speaks. And once you have learnt all this,you can reverse engineer this into your own writing.
Ok, the link between writing and acting is clear enough. But how can belly-dancing, or guitar-playing help?
I’m not quite sure how, but it does. It feels like my creative impulse is being stimulated, but in a completely different way. The best simile I can come up with is, imagine exercising the same way your whole life your body gets tired and used to the moves. Then you exercise a different way – it’s hard at first, the muscles are worked a different way, but you are still exercising. You are making yourself stronger, but widening your skills.
I always find I have more inspiration and write a lot more if I am also acting and dancing. It makes me very busy, but very creative.
So if you feel stuck in a rut, try a few creative classes. Learn to tango, or make a pot, or join a choir. With any luck, it’ll give writing a whole new breath of life.