Read, Relax & Refuel
Perhaps it was the first picture book your mom read to you, an old leather bound version of The Secret Garden you found at your grandma’s or a copy of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe you borrowed from the library which sparked your desire to write. Every fiction writer has fallen in love with real hard copy books while growing up. From the scent of fresh ink and paper in a brand new book to the softness of well-worn pages and the musty scent of being on a shelf somewhere for a long time, books speak to our longing.
The stories within help us to fall in love with words again, the power they have to create pictures in our imaginations and take us away from the pressures or boredom of daily life. To pick up a good book and read it for an hour can be like a mini-vacation.
There are days when we are discouraged or stuck, when we might even sit and stare at a prewritten outline and find every word we write a chore. While we might able to force ourselves to produce words for a deadline, there are times when we might feel empty and need to put fuel in the tank of imagination and emotion before we can write.
One day a few weeks ago, I was at the local post office, which is around the corner from the public library. So often I’ve looked up books I wanted for research online, only to reserve them and pick them up quickly to be time efficient. That day I decided to give myself the luxury of looking around the library for the fun of it, picking up books to look at . . . just because.
I may have spent only an hour and a half there, but the time relaxing and reading and soaking in the atmosphere of being around books filled me up again with new ideas, more creativity and a renewed desire to handle real books! Yes, I must confess, that I have a Kindle app on my Google pad and it’s wonderful for taking with me and for reading at night, so as not to disturb my light sleeping husband. Stopping to peruse e-book volumes and downloading new books may have the same effect as going to the library. However, that special time at the library helped me remember how I first fell in love with words and stories and books.
When I still had children at home, taking the time to treat myself to a mocha or a caramel latte at a cafe, while writing in a notebook often gave me the time off I needed. Or I might take a book with me to read. This gave me the chance to refuel as well. I have often felt that I can’t or shouldn’t take the time to read, relax and refuel.
The reality is that if we don’t take that time, even occasionally, the emotional energy we need to write isn’t there. Taking those needed times out can help you to become a more productive writer when you get back to your laptop.
What helps you to relax and refuel for your writing? Please share.
Writing Prompt: He carried the bag of garbage into the alley. Sure he was being followed, he turned and found . . . .
Write a few paragraphs and enjoy the fun of it, incorporating as many senses as you can.