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Refilling the Well

By On Nov 9 2012, 8:00 am

I stand in awe of those super prolific writers who seem to release a new book every month, well-written novels in multiple genres.  Are they blessed with rich, inexhaustible imaginations that allow them to pluck ideas out of thin air?  Maybe.  But a more plausible explanation is that they’re adept at refilling their creative wells.

No matter how prolific or leisurely the writer, we all need to refill the creative well to keep our work fresh.  This involves slipping away from our computer and our work in progress, and doing something totally unrelated to writing.  Those who study the creative process claim that even seemingly unrelated activities can retool the neuropathways in our brains, and have an unexpected influence on our writing.

One writer friend finds creative inspiration in her daily afternoon walk.  Every person she meets and the situations she encounters inspire her to play “what if?,” providing a wealth of ideas for her popular small town romances.  Another friend, a mega-bestselling romantic suspense author, regularly travels to Ireland.  Not only does the pastoral countryside supply her with the uninterrupted quiet to write and a rich variety of characters and situations, but Ireland has become part of her authorial brand.

I refill my creative well by seeking the company of other writers.  I meet once a week with three other writers to read and critique each other’s writing.  If one of us is stuck on a particular plot point, we brainstorm to get fresh perspectives.  Before I know it, my imagination takes off in a new direction, and the well is refilled to overflowing.

Often a hobby or interest can yield unexpected benefits to our writing.  Several years ago, I needed to feed my visually artistic side by working with color instead of words and learned to make beaded jewelry.  Working with beautiful, colorful beads in crystal, handmade blown glass, and metal is not only relaxing and creatively gratifying on a purely visual level, but provided me with handmade necklaces to offer as giveaways to readers, who tell me they appreciate having something handmade by the author.  Has beading made me a better writer?  I hope so, and I’ll continue to seek these unrelated ways to nudge my creativity.

If you’re a writer, what do you do to refill your creative well, and if you’re a reader, do you have an interest that, in a roundabout way, helps with your work?

Lindsay Chase is the author of the Retro Romances The Oath, The Vow, and Honor.  Join her on Facebook http://on.fb.me/zZrSnH and Twitter @LindsayChase10. 

Comments

3 Responses to “Refilling the Well”

  1. Selena Blake says:

    I read. Other novels and characters often spark ideas and what ifs. Sometimes I think “that would have been better if…” and I’m off running. Sometimes I’ll see something on TV that will spark my imagination, so occasionally I will let myself absolutely veg out. I think periods of complete down time are when my brain is resting and marinating new ideas. It’s after those times where I come up with some of my best stuff, at least I hope so. :-)

  2. Seraphina Hart says:

    That was very helpful along with the comment. I desperately need some down time. I’m always interested in how others cultivate ideas. Thanks for taking the time!

  3. Lindsay Chase says:

    How could I forget to include reading as a great source of inspiration? And when a writer is just sitting there, looking like she’s doing nothing, we know the creative juices are percolating in her brain. Whatever works.

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