One Writer’s Journey

September 4, 2017

Labor Day: Taking time to recharge

I hope everyone is enjoying Labor Day weekend.  No parades for us.

The boys have the weekend off so we spent a few days in the country.  Spending time away from the city is a good thing.  It reminds me that not everyone has access to wi-fi 24/7 and some people living place with patching to non-existent cell service.  Yes, indeed.  There are places in Missouri without reliable cell service.  We call them mountains and while they don’t rival the Rockies they do block a cell signal especially when all of the trees are leafed out.

When you living in the city, you tend to think of highways as 4 to 8 lines, divided, and, of course, paved.  We drove highway DD Sunday.  Two lanes in the wide places and no center stripe because a large portion is unpaved.

But I saw an amazing cow.  I think it might be a longhorn and she had the cutest calf.  The photo isn’t great but all we had handy were our phones.  The white blob is the cow.  The little brown and white spot behind that?  The calf.

Take some time off every now and again and explore somewhere you’ve never been.  It doesn’t have to be far from home.  It just has to be a new experience.  You never know how these things might find their way into your writing.  And even if they don’t, you’ve taken a day or three off to refuel.

–SueBE

 

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February 2, 2017

The Fuzzy Barrier Between Pre-writing and Recharging

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:30 am
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yogaWhen I set goals for myself, I have a tendency to over do it.  Let’s just say that my t0-do list has a tendency to look like a six year-olds Christmas list.  Most weeks it is two plus columns long.

More often than not, I’m working on multiple projects at a time. This week I’m reworking the outline on my young adult SF so that next week I can get some writing done.  I finished the research on and drafted a picture book. I pitched a manuscript to an agent and came up with a query for a magazine.  And I still have a devotional to write.

When I have this much going on, I have a tendency to spend too much time at my desk.  Yes, yes.  It is rather obvious. If I’m going to get that stuff done, I need to put my butt in the my chair and write.

But to get ready to work on something new, whether it’s a picture book draft or a query, I need to spend some time away from my desk.  I call it pre-writing because it is something that HAS to happen before I write.  It is part movement and activity and part-time to let my mind wander.  Because of this, it helps if it is something not particularly brainy.

Walking is good.  Rowing is good.  But the best of all may very well be yoga class. Why yoga class and not just yoga?  Because in class, Leslie puts us through our paces for 1 hour.  I can’t hurry through relaxation or skip a pose that I don’t much like.  There’s accountability.

That said, me being me, although we are supposed to be present and not let our minds wonder, that’s pretty much what happens.  I’ll be stretching up with one hand in triangle and then my brain says, “Hey, I’ve got the perfect transition into the next picture book spread.”  Just as I’m exhaling into a bend, the best possible way to describe my character is suddenly THERE.  Lucky for me, Leslie knows all about wandering minds.  “When you mind strays, and it will happened, just gently draw it back.”

And once I’m done with whatever physical activity I was able to work in, I am much more capable of sitting down to write.  After twenty minutes or half an hour, my mind may start to wonder but I simply draw it back to the task at hand.  After all, I’ve worked off enough energy to focus and I have a solution or three ready to apply.

–SueBE

 

 

January 11, 2016

Screenless Weekends

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:31 am
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cookingOne of the best writing habits I’ve ever developed doesn’t actually involve writing.  It involves going off-line and screen free.  Unfortunately, I broke this particular habit during one of my book rewrites.  I need to redevelop it.

At least one day each weekend, I don’t even turn on my computer.  I don’t check my e-mail.  I don’t go on Pinterest.  If I read, I don’t do it on my husband’s Kindle Fire (very handy for my crochet pattern PDFs).  It also means that I don’t get much writing done on this particular day but that’s okay.

What do I do instead?  I go out with my family.  This might involve visiting my Dad, playing a game with my son or hiking with my husband.  We might go to a movie or a family birthday party.

I read books.  There is very little more decadent than sprawling out on the sofa on a Missouri winter day, shawl draped over my lap, cup of coffee in one hand and actual print book in the other.

I knit.  I crochet.  I might thread new elastic through a skirt casing or put a button back on a shirt.

One day I brought up my mother-in-law’s wedding china and arranged it in my curio.

Sometimes I listen to blue grass or classic rock and clean up in my office or do the ironing.

I bake bread or other less healthy, but fantastic, things from scratch.

It may not be death-defying or super-exciting but it is valuable to me as a writer.  It turns my attention from the reality of glowing pixels to the much larger really of the world.  It gives me time to decompress.  I recharge and I stretch.  By the time I get home from yoga Monday morning, I am ready to write.  Are you?  If not, maybe you need to join me in spending some time off-screen.

–SueBE

 

December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:07 am
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Grandma Bradford's Christmas Angels.

Merry Christmas!   To those of you who celebrate, I hope you are having a peaceful and love filled day.

My son has been off school all week and has next week off as well.  Although I’m blogging and reading contest entries, I doubt that I’ll get much else done but that’s okay.  We all need down times so that we have experiences about which to write and the energy to do it.

I know the house will be full of boys at least once but we’ll have others here and there throughout the week. They’ll inspire me in many ways, which is fortunate, but I’ll also have to feed them!  As grandma would say, they eat like a mess of field hands.

I hope you all get to spend some time with the field hands, boys and loved ones in your life.  Read, play games, cook, do whatever recharges you and readies you to write.

That way you’ll be ready to get to it in 2016.

–SueBE

January 20, 2014

Creative Energy

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:29 am
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Crochet, like these pieces of fruit, is one of my favorite ways to recharge.

Crochet, like these pieces of fruit, is one of my favorite ways to recharge.

I hope all of you can find the time to reflect a bit on this, Martin Luther King Day.

My family is all home so I will be spending some time with them and hope that you can manage some time of as well.  Last week, I had a very productive week last week in large part because I had had time off over Christmas.

You all know that I am a firm believer in taking time to recharge your creative batteries.  No, this doesn’t mean taking weeks and weeks off, or even days and days.  But it can mean just taking a few minutes here and there to pamper yourself, doing something you truly enjoy.

How do you recharge your creative batteries?

–SueBE

January 9, 2012

BIC or Take a Day Off?

What do you do when you hit a writing wall?  Do you advocate BIC (butt in chair)? Or do you take a day off?

I make my living as a writer, so I write almost every day.  But sometimes I come upon a day where the words simply will not flow.  Do I keep my butt in that chair?  Sometimes.

Other days — I take a Pajama Day.    See my post on the Muffin to find out just how wearing my pajamas can pull me out of a writing funk.

–SueBE

P.S.  I’ll write about my goals for the week tomorrow.

July 22, 2011

A Day of Rest

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 2:45 am
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Give yourself the gift of downtime. Disconnect.

You may have noticed that if you e-mail me on Saturday or Sunday, you might not hear back from me for several days.  That’s because I try very hard not to even boot my computer on Sunday.

Why?

Because if you work from home, you quickly find that it is hard to be “off the clock.”  The things that you really need to finish, or just want to finish, but didn’t finish, aren’t at the office.  They’re in the other room.  Pop into the home office just to check for an e-mail from your editor and you may be embarrassed to find that you’ve been typing away, getting caught up, for close to an hour.  I-phones and more make it easier to be connected all the time.  Just one more minute to check on something or finish something.

Or not.

I choose that second option.  Sunday, we had lunch with friends and then went to the new Harry Potter movie.  I read most of a novel.  I prepped my lesson plan for Tuesday night.  Sure, I also did a load of laundry and we cleaned house but I worked in some serious relaxation.

In fact, I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard lately.  When I post my word count for the week this Monday, you’ll note that it isn’t very impressive.  In fact, I’m not going to come close to making my weekly goal.  But I’m okay with that.  I haven’t had a week more or less off in quite a while.

Please, take the time to kick back.  The energy you regain will be visible in your work.

–SueBE

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