Monday, February 8

Finding fuel

by Liz Flaherty

While we were mulling over themes a while back (we mull a lot—cider, wine, ideas...), Ava came up with “what we do to fuel our spirit/brains to write.” I was surprised at how many things I do—or use—for the express purpose of getting words onto the screen.

·         I’m at the desk long before daylight, with the only sound the humming of the furnace in my office. The bank of lights on the writing end of the room is on, but the sewing machines sit in ghostly silence, the TV screen remains black. It’s the laptop and me and coffee with hazelnut creamer. I love this dark time. In summer, it gets light early and as much as I relish that, it’s harder to write after the sun is up—it is the only time I wish I were a night person instead of a 5:00 AM one.

·         A legal pad. Preferably yellow, but white will do. And a pen that writes smoothly. Or, if I’m volunteering at the hospital, I take a coil-bound notebook. Longhand is harder than it used to be, but sometimes the words splash right onto the paper. It can be a problem deciphering what I’ve written later, but not much of one.

·         A retreat. It can be a big planned-out one, like the Indianapolis chapter of RWA has—check with Nan or me about that if you’d like to come—or one with a tableful of friends. We went to Turkey Run State Park last year and it was so much fun. Plus I got a story out of it. (There were also rumors about Nan and me getting lost, but that’s all it was—rumors. Ahem.)

·         Changing things up. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a fan of hotel dining rooms. If revisions or edits are giving me fits or if the muse has gone off to Hawaii or something, Duane know I need a hotel stay and we go somewhere for a weekend. Once, we went to Kokomo—about 40 miles away—just to get my writing kick-started.  

·         Brainstorming. Sometimes I ask Duane “what would you do if...” and he will give me a whole new view of something. Nan and I will text feverishly until one of us says, “I’m calling...” and then we talk on the phone. Saying “would this work?” because sometimes one mind simply won’t wrap around things like two will.  Friends and husbands are also great for reassuring you when you’re convinced you’re completely untalented and no one will ever want to read a word you’ve written and you may as well hang it up forever. Or at least until Tuesday. Thank you, Wranglers—I do believe you’ve talked me off that particular ledge a few times.

·         Talking to your editor. I admit, when mine calls, I always think it’s because he wants to tell me personally that he never wants to see another word I write. So far this has not happened, and I always feel better—and more productive—after we have talked about things.  

·         Being busy with other things. I’ve been sewing like mad for the past few weeks, and I’m not done. And I have to tell you, I can’t wait to get back to writing. To Holly and Jesse and Libby and Tucker and there’s a little dog named Dancer...

So here’s the usual question. How about you? What fuels your spirit?

Oh, and while I’m here, my April book has a cover. And have I mentioned it’s available for pre-order?

14 comments:

  1. Great list, Liz! I'll share mine later this week...but I have to say I love writing retreats - so inspiring!!!

    Great cover!!!

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    1. They are, aren't they, and I always have the whole "yes, I can" thing going on while I'm there.

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  2. Yup, I'm so with you on everything, except of course that early morning writing thing...I'm a night writer... great post, baby!

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    1. I want to be a morning AND a night writer--so far, it's not working out! :-)

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  3. I've been saying for years I wish I could lock myself into a hotel room for a few weeks! Since I've not written anything since July, I need a swift kick in the pants....

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    1. Even one night is a godsend, Molly, and the state park inns are 2 nights for the price of one through February. You should try it, even if you go alone. It's great!

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  4. Wow, you have a lot of things to inspire you, Liz! It's nice to have a wealth of options in your back pocket to pull out when needed.

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    1. Well, yes, if they worked every time. Or if you could just do whichever of those things you wanted to whenever you wanted to... :=)

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  5. Fun post. I've never tried a writers' retreat, but my writers' group always inspires me. Great cover.

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    1. Thank you! I love writers' groups, too, for many reasons--especially the conversation.

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  6. Great post. I like the idea of a location change up with a hotel stay. The IRWA retreat is also fabulous. I attended for the first time last year. It was well worth the time and investment. New book for you - yeah! I will get it pre-ordered as soon as I can.

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn. I love the IRWA Retreat, too. Do you plan to attend this year?

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  7. Someday, I'm coming to Indiana just to join you and Nan for a retreat!

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