Wednesday, September 2, 2009

A Refresher Course on Creative Idea Management

Ah, it’s Wednesday. Know what that means? I’m back. Before I get to the meat and bones of the blog, let me first thank Joann for keeping a light burning and for cleaning up her mess before I got back. Thanks for filling in, girl!

As you probably know by now, I was in Walt Disney World last week on a much-needed vacation. Why much needed? My brain was tapped out, drained dry and exhausted. When I embarked on this quest, this odyssey last November to be an author, I never dreamed I would be at the point I am right now. It’s been a wild ride and I have no intentions of stopping any time soon. The mountain of dreams is high and I've just gotten started. I have a long way to go, but I will get there.

That being said, because I believe in hard work and succeeding as a direct result of that hard work, I hit the proverbial wall. Hard. Enter vacation.

Here’s the funny thing. The night before I left (I’m not kidding you, we had just sat down to dinner) when an email came in that a publisher wanted a revise/resubmit on my latest historical novel. Frak! (All you BSG fans will know what that means) What’s a writer to do? Stress, of course. I intended to sneak in an edit here and there when hubby wasn’t looking while we were away.

Enter fate, that wily trickster who orchestrates my life and twists it to her (or maybe his) advantage.

As luck (or fate) would have it, I only had access to my laptop for two days. After that, my power chord died and my battery drained so I literally couldn’t use the thing. A sleek, black paperweight that mocked me with its ineffectiveness, taunted me with the work I needed to do but couldn’t access.

So I had no choice but to take the vacation. No work. No frantic typing. No internet. Gasp.

And I had a marvelous time. My brain played on the Teacups. My muse thrilled to fly over London on the Peter Pan ride. My creative juices bubbled over as I walked around Epcot. By the end of vacation (and my super awesome hubby ventured into the wilds of Kissimmee in the driving rain to buy a brand new power cord—my souvenir), I came away with a fairly good start for my next paranormal novel and two new ideas for books.

My point? (Hey you know you missed me so simmer down)

My point is that every writer owes it to himself or herself to take time off. If you don’t, fate will find a way to enforce the idleness, shove you up against the wall, hold you by the scruff, and make you have fun. Trust me. We need time to do something other than reading and writing. Get away from the printed word. Do something stupid and crazy and just plain silly. Think of your brain as a mini command center. Every once in awhile, it needs to be closed for maintenance and given a good dusting.

I highly suggest you schedule regular visits into time off.

That’s all I’ve got for now, kids. Until next week, happy writing.


Cindy Jacks said...

Brava, Sandra! Down time is as important as chaining ourselves to the laptop. At least that's how I justify my Wii addiction. It let's my muse play...yeah, that's why I have to play four hours of Mariokart...yeah, riiiight. ;)

Great blog topic!

P.L. Parker said...

Sometimes I just get lost in the promo, editing, writing, etc. Fortunately, my long-suffering husband is very good at letting me know how long I've been at it - over and over. So I manage to unglue myself from the computer (or listen to him) hmmmmmmm. Actually, I do appreciate his efforts.


Rebecca Royce said...

Did you really just say Simmer Down? LMAO. Great post. We missed you.

Annie Nicholas said...

I did miss you! A power cord sovenir? At least it will remind you of your vacation when you use it. LOL. Good to hear you're back on track.

Anonymous said...

Hi I have to say I loved your post.
Breaks are important!
Sometimes we get so bogged down with work, that we don't want to come up for air, but it's so important to. First of all it helps the creative process.
Glad you had a great time.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Hey Cindy! I love the Wii. My favorite game to date is Super Smash Brothers Brawl :-) Great stress reliever.

Patsy--thanks for dropping by. Good to know you've got someone policing your time :-)

Rebecca--yeah, I'm apparently kickin' it old school today LOL

Annie--Thanks! Can't wait to write new material. Gotta get some edits and submission work out of the way first :-)

Annette Gisby said...

So true :) We do need a break from the computer (or notebook) sometimes. We've just recently come back from a cruise around the Norwegian fjords and I had no computer or paper with me on the ship so I couldn't do any typing or writing. Enjoyed the holiday so much more and it gave me lots more ideas for stories

take care,

Piper Denna said...

Glad you had a nice trip and came back refreshed and inspired!

Sandra Sookoo said...

Carole--Thanks for coming by and liking what you read. I'm here every Wednesday with pithy, timely, sometimes weirdly dorky advice. Hope you'll come back! :-)

Annette--Ah, a fellow traveler. :-) Awesome. So next time, I'm considering leaving it all at home...yeah, probably not LOL

Piper--thanks for visiting!

Unknown said...

Oh yes, the universe always has a plan for us. I'm glad you enjoyed the vacation. Taking time off to rest the brain is a must.

Take care.

J Hali Steele said...

Rebecca, I heard that too - simmer down - lol. Sandi, I'm glad you're back because I got a 'mini' vacation checking out your awesome pictures.

You are so right about needing a break now and then to recharge the creative juices.

Can't wait to see what you've come up with.

Welcome home!

Sandra Sookoo said...

Geez Joann, if you noticed the "simmer down" too, I must be unconsciously channeling Zelma. Bad, bad Sandi LOL

Charisma--Thanks for coming by. I think fate and the universe like to tease me. :-)

Anonymous said...

Sandra, thank you!
I sure will come back and I'm following it now!

LM Spangler said...


Great post. I'm glad you enjoyed your time off. We all do need time to recharge our batteries as writers. There is a time where too much becomes counter-productive. This is certainly coming from the voice of experience. I may still be fairly new to the game but that is one lesson I learned.

Glad your back!


The Word Place said...

You posted my favorite Disney song! I sang it to my children, and now I sing it to my granddaughter--and just gave her a Cinderella porcelain figurine such as the one in the picture with "My Granddaughter, My Princess" on it!

You're exactly right about taking a vacation from writing as from any other work. I feel guilty about it, but I always come back refreshed and ready to be more creative!

Enjoyed your post!

nerinedorman said...

Earlier this year we spent a fortnight in the small Karoo hamlet of Nieu Bethesda in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. It was marvellous and we visited some interesting places, including the Valley of Desolation. But I took my writing books with me and spent a lot of time scribbling... but also caught up on reading, which was perfect.

Mary Ricksen said...

Wonderful advise. I am going to NC in October for peace and quiet. I have done the tourist thing and there are many things near where we go, that you can easily visit.
This time, I just want to read and listen to nature in the mountains.

Sandra Sookoo said...

Mary, Nerine and Lienna, yup, time away is sometimes for the best.

Judy--can't beat Cinderella for a pick me up!

Thanks for stopping by ladies!

Sandy said...


What a fun post. I agree that we should time away from our writing once in a while.

Glad you had fun on vacation.

Tonya Kappes said...

I am glad you are back safe and sound-most of all completely refreshed!

Rae Lori said...

Oh I love this post, Sandi. And it's good to have you back. The pics are making me home sick for Disneyland. Can't remember the last time I was there!

Taste of Homecooking said...

Geez, it's about time you 'simmered down' and had a vacation and didn't worry about work! :)-

I'm glad you had a wonderful time. I so wish I were going in Oct. :( Alas, some day :)

Glad you are back :)