Jill Nutter/Jillian Kent

Secrets of the Heart, The Ravensmoore Chronicles, Book One is Jillian Kent’s debut novel that released in May 2011. Jill is fascinated with human behavior and how our minds work, and understands the mind, body, and spirit connection. She is a full-time counselor for nursing students and possesses a masters degree in social work. Jill is a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors and is passionate about mental health and wellness and stomping out the stigma of mental illness which is evident in her novels. You can reach her at jill@jilliankent.com and explore her website at www.jilliankent.com, and the website for the national alliance on mental illness is http://www.nami.org/

The Well Writer
Jillian's guest this month: Megan DiMaria

Writers—Be Refreshed!

Megan DiMarieAs writers we don’t toil physically in our work, but a toll is taken. And to maintain creativity, a writer needs to stay refreshed by nurturing good physical, spiritual, and emotional health.

According to dictionary.com, creativity is the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules and patterns, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, and interpretations. Writing a book is hard work, and if you’re running on empty, creativity is a tall order to fill.

As believers we get to hang on to these glorious truths: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1), and “So God created human beings in his own image” (Gen. 1:27a NLT).

God is the ultimate Creator, and He fashioned us in His image. When you look at it that way, our creativity is an extension of our relationship with God and a component of our personalities. We’re creative because God created us that way.

To best access your creativity, take good care of yourself:

• Get eight hours of sleep.
• Take time out of your weekly schedule to rest and recharge.
• Eat a healthy diet.
• Connect with friends and loved ones.
• Exercise regularly. Go for a walk, hop onto a treadmill—just get moving. Your imagination won’t work at maximum capacity if your brain is sluggish.
• Practice deep-breathing exercises a few times daily to reduce stress, release endorphins, and clear and focus the mind. If done at night, deep breathing helps to relax your body and promote restful sleep. In the morning it helps to energize you. Do it again mid-day for a boost.
• For a full minute, breath in through your nose for a count of ten, hold lungs full for a count of five, breath out through your mouth for a count of ten, hold lungs empty for a count of five.

In addition to taking care of your physical health, you can use several methods to maintain and refresh your creativity:

1. Pray

• Keep yourself spiritually charged. Remember Who your writing partner is. We are called by God, and He is faithful to us.
• Journal spiritual thoughts about your writing life, story idea, etc.
• Write a prayer.

2. Keep a writer’s journal.

• A journal may include memories, jokes, story ideas, writing tricks, dreams, and descriptions of people, places, or situations.
• A writer’s journal may be as simple as a little notebook you carry in your purse or it could be a Word document on your computer.

• Train yourself to be alert for fresh ideas when they occur, and write them down.

Searching For Spice 3. Read a great book.

• Sometimes reading great writing gives you the itch to write yourself.

4. Try freewriting.

• Give yourself a time limit (ten to fifteen minutes) and let your fingers fly over the keyboard. Even if you’re writing crazy nonsense, you may spark a thought or idea that will be a springboard to a new project.

5. Take a creative field trip.

• Visit a museum, listen to soul-stirring music, go to the movies.
• Sometimes spending time in other creative environments spurs the desire to be creative in your own work.

6. Take some photographs.

• Grab your camera and take a field trip to a local park, busy shopping area, or town square. Let yourself focus on whatever catches your fancy. You may look back at your images and see a spark of an idea in a situation, location, or a face. (Just don’t appear to be a stalker.)

7. Try to write in a different place and with different tools.

• Sometimes a small change of scenery can help creativity. I’ve written in doctors’ offices, auto mechanics’ waiting rooms, and even in a parking lot waiting for friends to meet.
• Leave your laptop at home and write with a pen and notebook.

God blessed us and entrusted us with a talent and a desire to create fiction. He gave us this gift for a reason, and it’s our responsibility to nurture our talent and be faithful to our calling. To do that, we need to care for ourselves—physically, spiritually, and mentally.

Megan DiMaria is an author and speaker who enjoys cheering on other writers in their pursuits and encouraging women to embrace life’s demands and delights. She is an active member of several writers groups and is the author of two women’s fiction novels, Searching for Spice and Out of Her Hands. Visit Megan online at her Website, blog, and Facebook Readers’ Club page.