Refilling the well
PC reminded me that I was coming over to play today... and I was in panic mode. (Hey. This is an author who has revisions due and whose chocolate stash has been raided. Of course I was in panic mode.) What on earth was I going to talk about?
Well, I have two books out in March. I could talk about disability (the heroine of my Medical, The Children’s Doctor’s Special Proposal, is deaf – like me), but I’ve talked about that elsewhere. Or I could talk about gorgeous men (the hero of my Modern Heat, Surrender to the Playboy Sheikh, is Modern Heat’s very first Sheikh), but I did that last time I was here.
So I went to refill my chocolate stash. And that gave me an idea. What have I been doing, this last week? Refilling... not my chocolate stash, but my creative well.
This is an important lesson for writers – you need to take time out just to think and gather ideas, otherwise you’re heading for burnout, and that scary moment where the ‘girls in the basement’ (as I believe the fabulous Jennifer Crusie calls them) go on strike. Actually, I guess it’s like anything else: your income needs to match your outgoings. If you write a lot of books but don’t spend time doing things that inspire ideas, you’re going to end up with an empty ideas account. (And I speak as one who writes six books a year for Harlequin Mills & Boon. Rule one is to pace myself, and rule two is to take time out.)
It was half term, which I’d intended to spend with the kids anyway; and my husband took the week off with us, as he needed to use up his annual leave before the end of his holiday year. And we did things that we don’t normally get to do during the week.
We took the kids to London for the day and walked 27,000 steps (hey, I didn’t say this ‘refilling’ thing was restful, did I?) while exploring the British Museum in Bloomsbury and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. (This also involved people-watching, a fair bit of ‘what if?’ in the back of my head, and walking hand in hand with the love of my life: soppy, perhaps, but it keeps me grounded.) All the different sights and smells and sounds of a different city can be inspiring: not to mention touching a 4.5-billion-year-old meteor. How cool is that?
We also went to the beach and listened to the waves roaring onto the shore, walked along the pier and ate ice cream. (You have to eat ice cream on an English beach. Doesn’t matter if it’s winter and the wind blows straight from Siberia across the North Sea. You still have to eat ice cream.)
We went to the cinema. Admittedly, we saw a kids’ film rather than one of the dramas I’ve been itching to see since catching snippets from the Baftas, but it still left me with plenty of what-if moments.
We got up really late. (No sniggering at the back, there. I wasn’t asking my (ahem) research assistant to help me with plot points – two kids plus a dog means that THAT kind of research happens when they’re not going to walk in *g*.) So instead of getting up for the school run, I had time to read in the mornings before breakfast. Bliss. And, again, lots of lightbulb moments.
We visited bits of our home city that aren’t often open to the public, as part of the city’s first ever Dragon Festival. (I also write local history, so I admit that it was some very sneaky work. But it also gave me a few lightbulbs.)
And we played a lot of games, from Guitar Hero on the Wii through to Scrabble and Monopoly and Boggle: not competitive stuff, but spending time together, talking and laughing until our stomachs hurt.
And I’m ready to go back to work now, with the well refilled and my mind refreshed.
What’s your favourite way of refilling the well? I’m giving away a copy of The Children’s Doctor’s Special Proposal and Surrender to the Playboy Sheikh, and lovely Problem Child is going to select a winner from among those commenting...
Thanks for having me over to play today!
Kate’s website: http://www.katehardy.com/
Kate’s blog: http://katehardy.blogspot.com/
P.S. Playground Monitor's winner from yesterday is Claire. Send your snail mail info to PM to claim your prize. Prizes not claimed in 7 days will be re-awarded.