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?