How can it possibly be August already? Vacations are winding down, and before we know it the kidlets will be back in school. Orientations, school supply shopping, and Back to School nights are right around the corner. As well as soccer/ football/ cheerleading/ field hockey practice/ symphony rehearsals/ robotics and homework. But this year my children aren’t the only ones preparing for a change in schedule and workload… Due to furloughs and the skyrocketing costs of college (I have two teenage daughters) I will be returning to work full time in the very near future. In addition to writing, this summer I have been taking online classes to increase my marketablility in preparation for this eventuality. I don’t mind returning to the workforce. In fact, most writers have a “day job.” But this summer, between the kids, the online classes and certifications, preparing and shopping my resume and trying to fit in writing time… I’ll be honest—my brain is full.
Every year we take a few days to get away, relax and chill out. This year I’ve been looking forward to this family time for weeks. As a last hurrah, we are living it up at Massanutten Resort this week. I’ve enjoyed spending time with family, long walks, movies. I’m even reading “Shanna” by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss. Again. What can I say? It’s a beloved classic, and one of the many books that cemented my love of romance. But the thing that I loved the most about this week was canoeing down the Shenandoah River with my family. That may not be everyone’s idea of relaxing, but for me, a peaceful day on the river soaking up some rays sounds about perfect.
It doesn’t matter whether I’m overwhelmed with kid stuff, job stuff, or the WIP that I loved three weeks ago that has now come to a screeching halt. Taking a time out from real life helps me clear my mind and regain my sanity. And often, my inspiration.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s a weeklong vacation in the islands (okay, it really does matter if I’m not invited!), or hanging out with friends for a few hours and enjoying a bottle of wine. It’s amazing how taking a step back helps me see the bigger picture and hear what my characters are telling me. I find when I step away for a short time and contemplate my story—because let’s face it, a creative person’s brain never sleeps. In fact, most days mine is set to turbo juggling two thousand ideas at once—that I figure out the best way to refine my character’s motivation, how to up the conflict, or decide who’s POV is going to give the most punch to a particular scene. And that is when the magic happens… when I go back to the computer and my fingers fly over the keyboard.
What about you? What do you do to unwind, de-stress, and get yourself back on track?