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Creative Minds

Wiki image-Old_big_suitcaseBy 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.

wiki Lassie_and_Tommy_Rettig_1956
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!

One series I recently read  from beginning to end!

One series I recently read from beginning to end!

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.

dragonflys in silver

My latest creation!

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.
necklace for reader lunchI 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?

Kaufman head shot

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 WEBSITELIKE her on Facebook, or go follow her on Twitter.




Sandy Elzie - May 12, 2014 - 5:35 am

Good morning Debbie,
This articler made me think…..what exactly refills my creativeness when it’s running dry? Well, for one thing, like you, I read, but getting together with one or more writers and spending time brainstorming and writing seems to do it for me. When we “what if” the storyline of my characters, I find myself opening to my characters taking a deeper, or longer journey in their story.

Piper - May 12, 2014 - 8:09 am

Hmmm. I’m always reading so I don’t know if that counts. Your idea of reading outside of the genre is very appealing, maybe I need to do that more often.

I do envy having another creative hobby though, Debbie. A very good idea. There are a number of authors who do this. I have to think about what I can do. I can only draw stick people and I can’t paint. Maybe I’ll get back into knitting and crocheting again. Thanks for the idea!

Pam Asberry - May 12, 2014 - 8:21 am

First my sister-in-law and now you, Deb! I’ve created TWO beading monsters! Ha! Seriously, your creations are beautiful and I fully understand how the “need to bead” helps clear the head and keep that creative well filled. Playing the piano does that for me too, but lately it has taken over my life, as a colleague and I played a duo piano concert Saturday night that took us MONTHS to prepare for. There was no time whatsoever for writing. I am hoping to remedy that now that the concert is over. Sometimes a girl really CAN’T do it all!

Debbie Kaufman - May 12, 2014 - 8:28 am

Sandy, LOL, I feel a writing retreat coming on! Nothing like it for productivity and inspiration :)

Debbie Kaufman - May 12, 2014 - 8:29 am

Hey Piper,
I find that any reading helps, but for me switching it up was a real spark. You knit? I crochet, but only the most basic stuff.

Debbie Kaufman - May 12, 2014 - 8:32 am

Hey Pam,
I can only begin to imagine how consuming that concert preparation was for you. I have a long-time friend who teaches and plays and I know how much of her life music takes. Of course, it is her main passion and she has no desire to write. I still don’t know how you mostly do it all. Must be those cruises refreshing you! Maybe I should take another page from your book and call the cruise line…

Connie Gillam - May 12, 2014 - 9:07 am

I have to read. Reading lets me escape and de-stress. But the key for me is to limit the time I read or I’ll be reading all the time. I read when I take dinner at work (I work from 3pm-11) and fifteen or so minutes before I go to bed. I also listen to audio books as I drive to and from work. When I exercise, I listen to books on my Ipod.
Reading is a life saver for me and it refills me creative well.
Now if I could get organized, I’d be able to conquer the writing world.

Marilyn Baron - May 12, 2014 - 9:30 am


I didn’t know you made jewelry. How wonderful. My daughter also likes to do that for a hobby.

I’m like Piper, stick figures are the limit of my artistic capability.

And like Connie, reading is my creative outlet. I’d probably get more writing done if I didn’t read, but I wouldn’t trade that. Reading alone, of all things, relaxes me and when I read an author that has an amazing voice I’m inspired to get back to writing. Watching TV used to relax me but now it relaxes me to the point where I fall asleep.

Susan Carlisle - May 12, 2014 - 12:20 pm

Right now I’m working on smocking for my grand children. As I stitch I think about where my story is going. I’m also busy doing that reading. I’ve just finish a historical and now I’m reading a short contemporary.

Carol Burnside - May 12, 2014 - 12:33 pm

Reading and crochet do it for me. Kudos to you for having the good sense to refill the well.

Debbie Kaufman - May 12, 2014 - 12:45 pm

Susan, I admire the fact that you know how to use a needle and a thread, LOL! So not my area….

Debbie Kaufman - May 12, 2014 - 12:46 pm

You are so smart to set limits. I get too obsessive about finishing a book to stick to doing that.

Debbie Kaufman - May 12, 2014 - 12:47 pm

Hey Marilyn,
I didn’t know your daughter made jewelry. You’ll have to show me her work sometime.

Debbie Kaufman - May 12, 2014 - 12:49 pm

Hey Carol,
I don’t know that I had a choice. I think I was starting to “choke” on the dust at the bottom of the reservoir :)
So, I see several of us can crochet. I may have to get one of you guys to help me learn more than the basics. I love to crochet during the winter–a project to keep me warm!

Maxine Davis - May 12, 2014 - 3:18 pm

Debbie, I didn’t know you made jewelry. How wonderful. I’m like Carol, reading and crocheting do it for me. For example in the past few months, I’ve had 4 baby blankets to crochet. I did them and came up with a new short story and the guts to one I had started. Now if I could just make myself sit in front of the computer ….

Debbie Kaufman - May 12, 2014 - 9:07 pm

Maxine, you know the old maxim–10% inspiration, 90% perspiration! I understand completely.

Piper - May 12, 2014 - 9:56 pm

Yep, Debbie, I’ve been knitting off and on since I was six. I had to teach myself how to crochet. Only granny squares though…:)

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