By Debbie Kaufman
Recently my creative mind took a long holiday. It was one of those surprise trips, like the kind where someone hands you a ticket, says they’ve made all the arrangements, and only gives you vague clues as to how to pack. Next thing you know you’re staring out the window of a ski lodge with only flip-flops and summer wear in your suitcase. Or, in my case, staring at an unfinished book proposal and feeling as if I had no idea how to finish it, let alone how to write an entire new book.
Reflecting back, I was long overdue for some stress relief in life, but if my mind had consulted me I would have told it that I envisioned something more like watching the waves from under a beach umbrella with a fruity drink and a good book (or a dozen),not finding myself at the bottom my creative well where my feet only managed to kick up the dust in that empty reservoir. (Where is Lassie when you need him?)
Creativity, I am convinced must be nurtured. The mind must have those moments of total suspension from life stress or even just the daily grind. One thing that proves this to me is how inspiration often comes to me when I am engaged in mindless tasks that occupy me without being a stress or requiring much of my attention. Some of my best inspiration comes when I’m doing the dishes, taking a shower, or driving a familiar distance. If we don’t have those “mindless” moments, creativity takes a nose-dive!
For me, the key to refilling my well has involved three things: reading, learning a new hobby, and connecting with my readers. As fellow blogger Susan Carlisle will tell you, no writer should neglect their reading life (deadlines are the exception time). Susan is very passionate about this, as she told us in one of her recent BLOGS. “I promised myself when I became an author that I would give up writing if it decreased my time to reading. I’ve held to the promise. I still read as many books as I ever did, maybe more.” I can see why she’s right about that. Now that I’ve practically glutted myself with reading so many books (not a one in my own genre), that I am almost embarrassed to tell you the number, I feel far more empowered to write.
Hobby-wise, I’ve become a bit obsessed with learning how to make jewelry. That was
the fault of, uh, due to the inspiration of another sister blogger, Pam Asberry, who pursues a writing career while teaching piano and running a jewelry business. She talks about those activities in this BLOG and some of her jewelry items are on display at her Etsy shop, THE WISHING BOX. As for my jewelry making, I have found that learning a new skill has really engaged my brain in positive ways. The other day, my husband came home to find me with beads strewn everywhere and totally absorbed. His comment: “Writing much?” Me: Quiet, my characters are finally talking to me again!” Creativity in one form seems to spark itself to a flame in others.
I have also found the jewelry making handy for creating gifts to give to the readers who come to author luncheons to sit with me, like the Barbara Vey Readers Luncheon I attended recently with Susan Carlisle. The necklace to the left was a prize for one of the seven ladies at my table (they all also got handmade bracelets). Those seven ladies and all the rest that came to the book signing later really were the flint to my tinder of creativity!
So what do you indulge in creatively speaking? What refills your well of inspiration?
Debbie Kaufman writes inspirational historical romance for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Historical line. The fact that some of her books contain cannibals should be understood as an element of adventurous romance stories and should never misconstrued as a sign of a warped mind. Debbie insists she is as normal as everyone else. To decide for yourself, connect with her at her WEBSITE, LIKE her on Facebook, or go follow her on Twitter.