Friday, October 27, 2006

Ask the Authors: Friday

Welcome back to “ask the authors week.” This week we will pose five questions to our contributors, and you’ll find their varied answers to a single question each day.

If you have questions you’d like us to ask during a future “Ask the Authors” week, send it to As always, thanks for joining us!

What do you do to refill your "think tank" or renew your passion for writing? In other words, how do you "recharge your batteries" when you suspect you might be approaching the edge of burnout?

I take time to "fill the well" by doing some project around the house—I paint something or plant something or make something. Exercise a different creative muscle. –Angela Hunt

I get desperate for methods sometimes, so I try different fire starters; one may work one season and then next season I try something else. I take a writing sabbatical away from phones and demands. Sometimes I pull weeds in the garden or take a walk or sit out in the sun. I returned to school a couple of years ago. During the school season I wasn't as aware of the change that was coming over my writing. I had to put a few months between graduation and writing to process new thoughts, etc. I did have a moment of, "Oh, boy! I hope this was a good idea." But now that I'm back writing again, the changes in my writing flow are evident, so I'm really glad I went for it. Treating yourself to a workshop or, if manageable, a writing MFA, is a gift to your own writing soul. Whatever it takes, though, to realize that, "yes! this is actually working!" is better than time wasted sitting and brooding miserably in a writing rut. –Patricia Hickman

Taking a day off to do something completely unrelated to writing is sometimes just the ticket for me. Going away to write—to a bed-and-breakfast, a hotel, or to a friend’s empty house—is an incredible help when I’m stuck in a story. Attending a writer’s retreat or conference inspires me and gets me excited about my writing again. And sitting down to read a wonderful book reminds me why I wanted to be a writer in the first place—to offer the amazing gift of story to someone else. - Deborah Raney

Pray. Takes walks. Read a good book. Go to the movies. And some times I just have to slog through it as best I can. -- Robin Lee Hatcher

Travel usually provides the experiences and new insights on life I need to continue writing. Travel invests even mundane things with meaning. Just going grocery shopping in Mexico is worth a chapter, at least. But that's more about recharging the ideas, not the passion. For that, I turn to other artists: fellow writers, musicians, painters, sculptors, or moviemakers. Experiencing beautiful art of any kind sends me straight to the computer keyboard, but I’m especially inspired by great paintings. --Athol Dickson

I force myself to take some time off. This is very hard for me. I'm a bit of a workaholic. I had a mandatory break this summer when I had a knife accident and my hand was in a cast for six weeks. When I came out of that, I was really ready to write! Normally I can't take that much time off, but taking even Sunday off helps me recharge for Monday. –Rene Gutteridge

Immerse myself in my favorite music while I read my favorite authors. Go for walks. Take three or four days off to catch my breath and let God heal. -BJ Hoff

I stop writing for awhile. I go hiking. I read good novels by friends and other excellent writers. I get away with God and count my blessings and remind myself why I'm in this business, which is more than a business because it's a lifelong love affair with words and emotions and triumphs and failures. I can't NOT write. -Hannah Alexander

I think it's essential to have a Sabbath rest. I take Sundays off from writing concerns. I write 6 days a week, but take a week sometimes to let the "boys in the basement" (Stephen King's description of the subconscious writer's mind) do their work. Also, re-reading some favorite novels always charges me up. - James Scott Bell

I get lost in a good book, wander around for a while, and come out refreshed. Invariably, I’m inspired to write good stories by reading good stories. –Ann Tatlock

Always, I turn to close friends. I try to meet up for a long weekend or week and be together. Nothing recharges me more than to be with writing friends I cherish. We talk shop, kick around plots, laugh and cry together. It’s exhilarating. -Lori Copeland

Great question, and I have to admit I've been approaching that edge for the past couple of years. I've discovered that author brainstorming sessions, where I get together with other novelists, helps a lot. Getting away for a few days, spending time with other writers, talking about projects and having them brainstorm about my ideas, it's invigorating and fun. It's been a great help when I've felt more or less stuck. –Karen Ball


At 9:16 AM, Blogger Kristy Dykes said...

Loved reading everyone's answers. Great ideas. A recharge for me is to visit a famous author's home. This week, we were in apple country in North Carolina and visited Carl Sandburg's home. A novelist, poet, and biographer of Abraham Lincoln, he won two Pulitzers. Very inspiring.

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Southern-fried Fiction said...

For me, the distractions at home are too much-even in my own office. I just found a wonderful place to write. I went to a local coffee shop, Red Sky Cafe. They have free wireless, a wonderful bakery, the best coffee, and they serve lunch. What more could I ask for?

But what surprised me is how the "white noise" in the background helped me focus more.


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