what you know: Constant advice given to new writers. Better advice may
be to write what you enjoy. In the push to get published or a new
promotion have you forgotten to play?
Too often, we find ourselves
stressed and in a rut. Work harder, longer, and forego any
entertainment and you’ll reach the goal, right? Wrong. For some reason,
we believe our creative brains will benefit from closing a box around
them. Refreshing our minds and bodies will not only drive creativity,
but lower stress and enhance satisfaction in our journey to the goal.
Goofing off sounds irresponsible until you stop and think about your
In fact, you’re not just goofing
off! You’re opening pathways in your brain when you play. Solutions to
problems tend to pop into your brain when you change settings and work
on your hobbies instead. It’s a common result for the light bulb to go
off in the middle of a miniature golf game or while out on a sailboat
or during a Yoga class. Why is it showers are known to provoke
brilliant songs and ideas? Because the shower has nothing to do with
work. The faucet’s soothing downpour takes your mind off of the small
picture and lets your imagination run wild.
Hobbies help writing happen by
deepening the connection between the writer and the character. The
story flows fast when writing about something you love to do. Imbue
your character with your favorite activities. Hobbies also help connect
the writer to the reader via sharing the character’s interests. It’s
easy to make friends with people who enjoy what you enjoy.
Do you like knitting, skiing,
painting? What about cooking, tinkering on cars, or refinishing
antiques? How fun would it be to write about it as part of your
character’s life? Enrich your novels with a part of yourself. Dig deep.
Share what you love, what you love to do, and what makes it
fascinating. Bring your reader close to the real you through your
Ultimately, both you and your
characters will lack depth and your joy for life will wane if nothing
new is introduced. It’s terribly difficult to feel like you can’t get
to know people. Working on hobbies connects you to dynamic people
around you who enjoy what you enjoy. What hobby can your characters
engage in to round out their personalities? Rounding out life means
different things to different people.
Be sure to make time for
additional education each week. Add a hobby as research. Choose one
you’ve been interested in for a long time. Do what you’ve never done
but always wanted to do, at least for a short time. You may find a new
hobby. Then translate what you’ve learned into your characters’ lives.
You’ll make new friends and have blast on the journey.
Abingdon Press has a line of
sixteen titles, Quilts of Love, releasing fall of 2012, one each month,
all surrounding quilting. Why? Quilting is a huge hobby for American
women. By bringing such a popular artistic interest into fiction,
Avocado is a great healthy fat
to eat and a green food for your Saint Patty’s Day celebrations.
Salt to taste (start with ½ a teaspoon)
½ tsp. powdered cumin
½ tsp. garlic salt (or powder if you need to keep sodium down)
1 tsp. fresh chopped garlic
1 Tbs. lime juice (keeps it fresh)
1 large or 2 small tomatoes, diced small
1 Tbs. dried onion flakes (easier to tolerate than fresh onion)
Serve with baked tortilla chips (avoid the fried version to lower the
amount of fat)
Fresh cilantro, ¼ tsp. chili powder, ¼ cup diced onion as tolerated,
and black pepper to taste. Adding 1 Tbs. nonfat sour cream or Greek
yogurt mellows the flavor further, but it’s not my personal preference.
Nonfat Greek yogurt adds more protein too.
Cut and scoop out avocado into a
bowl. Mash with a potato masher. Add all spices and lime juice. Mix
well. Add dried onion (or fresh chopped), tomatoes, and stir well.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Spices blend and the taste is
enhanced if it can sit for at least an hour ahead of the meal; however,
it should not be made the day ahead because it turns brown quickly, not
because it’s spoiled but because of oxidation. If you have some
leftover and it turns brown, simply stir and serve. This very fresh
food will spoil after three days, though.