Blogger: Mary Keeley
Everything about this summer, especially a visit from out-of-state family, was a piece of heaven. But cooler temperatures and the scent of fall invigorate me physically, emotionally, spiritually, and creatively. The change of seasons does that for me. Today, I’m going to offer some simple suggestions that can help to refresh your creative spirit. Fortunately, revitalization doesn’t have to be limited to only a few times a year.
Your book has to be the best it can be to attract interest from an agent or editor. The competition is fierce. There’s no way you can soar through a plot problem or find the perfect word when you’re dull of mind. Here are my four offerings to recharge your creative juices. Add your own ideas to the conversation–ideas not merely for escape but that also promise constructive refreshment and stimulation of thought.
- Clear your head. Step away from your computer . . . and dare I say, away from reading and all things having to do with books and the publishing industry. I confess, I’m a type A personality. This one is hard for me. Anyone else in this category? Deliberately choose something different from your normal take-a-break activities. Ideally, take the time you need until you feel excited and eager to get back to work, not because you feel guilty about being away. Of course, if you’re under contract, your time will be restricted. But do allow for a little time completely away from work for constructive refreshment. Give yourself permission.
- Move your furniture around. Aside from the adrenaline rush of the physical exertion, the change helps you to view things in a new way. Purchase a new throw pillow or frame a favorite vacation photo to hang on an empty wall. I included this suggestion because I recently did this myself and was delighted by how rejuvenating this simple exercise was. What you do doesn’t have to be expensive or elaborate.
- Go through old photos and home videos. It can help to re-set your anchor. Why is this important? Because your creativity will be hampered by guilt over neglecting your real-time priorities. It’s a delicate balance. Do something to nurture and care for those relationships God has blessed you with, and initiate a time discipline you’ll follow to maintain your priorities.
- Visit an older relative, friend, or a lonely person in a retirement home. Listen to them reminisce. Chances are their stories will ignite fresh thought and a perspective that perhaps wouldn’t have dawned on you otherwise. Younger writers might not have a thorough sense of history, including American history, since the trend in many public schools has changed to combine history and civics into one class: social studies. Listening to these old-timers may provide gems of wisdom. (Remember to take pen and paper with you to jot them down ideas right away.)
Whatever you do to rejuvenate, it needs to feel like something worthwhile, but not work. The old idiom, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is a good reminder. Constructive time away will benefit you and your final project in clear and subtle ways.
Now let’s hear from you. If you’re feeling dull, what do you intend to do about it? What do you think will work best when you need productive refreshment?