Wednesday, April 22

Filling The Well

RadioMan and I went to a banquet last night, honoring child service workers, local police and other child-advocates. It was a really inspiring evening filled with great conversation and amazing food and some of our favorite people in the world.

As the keynote speaker was finished up, she looked from table to table, and reminded all of us to take time to replenish...because child service workers are some of the most overworked and underappreciated in the world (in my humble opinion) and burn-out is particularly high. She was a child of the system, a child of addiction and has made an incredible life for herself and her children...but she said the focus shouldn't be on what she has achieved, but on what workers like those at the banquet had done for her.

"Do whatever you have to do - a bubble bath, a great vacation, escape into your favorite television show, garden - to refill your well...because these kids and families need you," she said, and stepped off the stage.

I think her point can be taken to heart by us, as writers, too. It can be so easy to lose our joy in creating stories and characters and to become overwhelmed with the promotional and selling aspects of our lives as writers. Refilling our creative wells is crucial not only to our ability to survive this business, but to thrive in it. To wake up every day excited to get back to our computer screens, to face another round of revisions or edits and to get over the fact that our book - our baby! - has been read by all of 2 people in the 2 years since it was released.

Taking time away from our computers to enjoy a perfect spring day at the park or really watch as another torrent of rain pours down outside...to read a great book or indulge in some smooth chocolates or a glass of wine can be just as important to our mental health as making time for the keyboard is. Without making time, we will never finish that next project...but if we're defeated and disconnected from our stories, we also may never finish.

One of my favorite ways to refill the well is to people-watch. I go to our mall or the amusement park in the summer, find a bench and just sit. I listen to the conversations around me and soak up the warmth of the sun (or the smell of a hot pretzel) and I don't think about my WIP or that round of edits in my mailbox or where my latest submission is. Sometimes I take a notebook, but more often than not, it's just me. I reconnect with myself and my stories and I refill that well.

What about you? What is your favorite way to refill the well?

13 comments:

  1. I sew. My only fear when I sew is that I will have so much fun doing it (I really like sewing!) that I won't want to write anymore. It never comes out that way, but I worry nonetheless.

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    1. Sewing is such a great release, Liz! I've talked to you before about how I usually figure out *something* about whatever book I'm working on while I sew. I love it!

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  2. I'm not sure I can narrow down my well-filling activities to just one. I knit, garden (once all the blasted snow is gone!) and I bake. But I also enjoy people watching. We were sitting at a sidewalk cafe just the other day, in a small college town. Hubby said something about all the students passing. And then another person strolled by, and we both said "professor". Short grey hair, well-used corduroy blazer, jeans that were just a tad too short, and running shoes. Instant character. And then it turned out the professor was a woman. Gold!

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    1. I love that story! And like everyone else, I love people-watching, which explains my affinity with airports. However, sidewalk cafes are little well-fillers all by themselves.

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    2. ...and that is why I love to people-watch, Luanna! Thanks for visiting - and I do agree with you. Having a number of go-to options is great!

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  3. I swim and knit and walk and binge-watch series TV, but I really want to travel. I get restless and it seems like a great way to develop characters and settings.

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    1. traveling is so much fun - we started cruising when bebe was 2. She always goes with us so we get the fun of seeing new places through our adult eyes *and* thru her kiddo eyes.

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  4. I bought a hammock last year. Best thing ever. I work full time, so all of my writing stuff happens in the evenings or on weekends. I have to remember to take time out to HAVE a weekend. With the hammock, I can stretch out under the pecan tree with a book and call it research. At least until I drift off to sleep.

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    1. That sounds fabulous, Margaret!

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    2. Agreed. I'm a little jealous right now. Pecans and a hammock???

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  5. I read and scrapbook, and hubby and I regularly travel to area parks to hike. My camera is always with me, and I try to capture images that relax and inspire me, even if I'm the only one who ever sees them. :) Great post, Kristina!

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    1. Thanks, HiDee! Hiking sounds wonderful, I can't wait until it's warm enough to get out and walk!

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  6. In the summer, I try and get out in the yard. I think pulling weeds and mowing take me out of my writing and let my sub-conscious work on the kinks in the manuscript.

    I'm also a movie/tv addict. Reading rounds it all out. Or sometimes just driving aimlessly...or letting someone else drive so I can refill the well...

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