While I’m over here today, my author-friend Brenda Pandos is at my blog as part of her tour for the release of her first audiobook. Brenda and I had the immense pleasure of getting together last week for some writerly hooligans. She came to Florida all the way from California and, along with my publisher, we made the drive to Islamorada in the Florida Keys.
Originally, this was supposed to be a writers’ retreat where we would spend lots of quiet-time writing and break-time talking about writing. Brenda did write a little, but since I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year, I’m in the planning stages and was only able to write one page of notes. So, uh, no, we weren’t overly productive. At least…not on the surface.
What we did accomplish, however, was filling our creative wells. Every creative-type needs to do this, and it’s especially important after the completion of a big project (like releasing a novel), when our wells are likely depleted. Filling the well involves exploration of new things, reading, watching TV, movies and live performances, listening to music, and just plain living life.
These experiences inspire new ideas, create new connections in our brains, provide fresh perspectives and give us fodder to make our stories and characters come alive with details we wouldn’t be able to capture otherwise. So when writers look like they’re being lazy couch-potatoes or gallivanting about when they should be holed-up writing, we really are working. Yes, that’s what I tell The Man, The Boys, The Publisher and the IRS. Because it’s true.
Brenda and I saw an octopus in the water off the beach, tried new foods and drinks, talked writing and plotting and characters and books, laughed a lot, watched the sun set on the water, visited a marine park and swam with dolphins. We had a blast! And I’ve returned back to the writing cave with a fresh mind and soul, ready to take on a new project. My well is overflowing, and I can’t wait to get started.
Breaks are important for everyone, regardless of what work you do. We all need them just to give one part of our brains a rest. For writers and other creatives, they also refill our wells that we draw on while creating. Low and empty wells show in our work. To be at our best, we have to play on a regular basis. Once again, I have to say, “It’s great to be a writer.”