Monday, September 12, 2011

The Care & Feeding of Writers

When I worked full time days and went to Bible School full-time nights, I existed on cold cereal and TV dinners. In moderation, these items are fine, but on a daily basis, they don't come close to a balanced diet. My body let me know I'd better consume fruit, veggies, and protein. Without them, my energy levels and sense of well being almost disappeared.

The writer also needs a balanced diet:

1) Come out of the writing cave and breathe in the beauties of God's creation. Fresh air and sunshine make for a happier, upbeat attitude.

2) Read wholesome, well-written books in a variety of genres. You know the saying with computers, "garbage in, garbage out." If you want to write well, read material that exposes you to quality writing. It's way too easy to pick up bad habits.

3) Live your life. Those babies won't be babies forever. Those children will someday leave the nest. Pour into them and enjoy them while you can. Treasure your mate, your extended family, and your friends. Your experiences will enrich your writing.

4) Exercise. While soaking in the colors, sounds, and sights of nature, get those muscles working. The blood flow to your brain will sharpen your writing and attention to detail.

5) Spend time with God. I'm a morning person, so the first thing I do is journal, read my Bible, and pray. He often gives me insights that guide me through any rough spots I'll face throughout my day. Often, I'll find inspiration for my writing, as well as for my life.

What are some of the things you do to "feed the writer within?"


JD said...

Hi, Susan:

To feed the writer within I consider what has moved me in my life, whether in positive or negative ways. Exposing raw emotions is a powerful way to connect with others, so I tap into that as often as possible. It also helps me put past hurts to rest when I can pull up something fruitful from the experiences.

Like you, I also go outdoors to fuel my writing. Being outdoors puts things in perspective and drives home the reality that we are each a part of something much bigger than ourselves. I've always found comfort and inspiration in that.

Thank you for the tips. Be well. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Susan .. you're so right - it's always that balance of life, and balance for the soul.

I definitely struggle to get things right and know I don't .. as I just spend too much time with my mother - but what is too much: and if she hadn't of been ill .. I'd have never started my blog and have the courage to proceed with it and have so many doors open ahead for me.

The balance is moving forward while I ensure the best for my mother .. even though Autumn is here - I must somehow make sure I get out and about and exercise more - that's my main downfall for now.

All the best for the week - Hilary

Linda O'Connell said...

I start my day with a prayer, a while on blogs and search markets. Some days I wake inspired, and other days, nothing inspires me. I find that if I allow it to happen my writing flows. If I try to make it happen, it doesn't always happen. Same with life; if I meddle too much I get in God's way instead of letting him lead me.

Jeanette Levellie said...

Susan: This is a splendid list! I wish you had share buttons at the bottom of your posts; I'd like to put this on my FB page. The only thing I'd add is to hang out with other writers who can help you grow.

Excellent post!

Karen Lange said...

Good advice! I practice each of them, although not always in the proper balance. A work in progress, that's what I call my life. :)

Melanie N. Brasher said...

Hi Susan,

I love the last two on your list. Lately, I've realized how I need to stay in the word. When I'm there, I often find inspiration for writing. And I long to live my life now. I love my boys. I pray they will know that and I long to invest in them. I'm coming to see that there truly is a time and season for everything.

Love coming here. :)

Unknown said...

This is so important but so easily forgotten! There are a few of these that I really need to work on. Thank you!

Sarah Forgrave said...

Excellent post, Susan! I enjoy my quiet time with God every morning, too, although my little ones sometimes usurp it. :)

A good diet and exercise are really important to me too. It's amazing how much those natural endorphins can fuel our creativity!

Rhonda Schrock said...

I do a lot of that! Exercise, spending time in the Word, etc. This is an excellent list, Susan. Thank you for reminding me. And I was honestly just about to head out to exercise...

Kathleen said...

Such a great collection of wisdom! No matter what we endeavor, it always goes better with balance. That balance sure helps in keeping anything from becoming an obsession, or task-master.

I didn't see apple pie anywhere in your list. Isn't it a dietary requirement for good health?


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Janette - Forgiveness and dealing with offenses is critical to our creativity. If we're at odds with God by hanging on to bitterness and resentment, we're blocking His blessings.

Hi Hilary - When my late husband was fighting leukemia, he needed a lot of attention. During that season, my writing was limited to email updates (friends & family) and journaling.

Hi Linda - When I have those uninspired days, I give myself grace. We're not always on the mountain top.

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jen - Thank you for the thumbs up! I don't know how to get those share buttons. Would you consider giving me a lesson?

Hi Karen - I've got to admit it. Some days are better than others.

Hi Melanie - I think we all need to remember that our relationships - with God, our families, and others - are top priority.

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa - Yes, it's easy to lose sight of the basics. Thanks for stopping by and commenting. :)

Hi Sarah - We wouldn't think of putting the wrong fuel into our gas tanks, but we do it all the time with our bodies!

Hi Rhonda - Great! I worked out today also. I hit the gym 3-4 times a week.

Hi Kathleen - LOL! Apples are fruit. I'd say they belong in a well-balanced diet.

Susan :)

DenaNetherton said...

Hi Susan, I like to read scripture out loud. Sometimes I read a passage over several times. God so often communicates something wonderful to me when I do this. The I spend time in prayer and also ask Him to supernaturally gift me with words He wants me to write.Then I write. (Long walks are also a great way to prepare the mind for action.

Anonymous said...

These are wonderful tips on how to stay balanced. I've been getting my writing blog going again, after the summer break, doing it during my usual morning journaling and bible reading. Getting into His word is the last thing I should be giving up to stay balanced. Thanks for the reminder.

Jean Fischer said...

Great list, Susan. Before I begin to write, I always pray and ask the Lord to write through me. I also like to feed my writer within by writing at the lake or in another quiet setting.


Kristen said...

Fantastic list, Susan!

For me, I also like to have another hobby or art that I can be creative in. I sing, so I'm part of a choir, and also will occasionally do plays or musicals. I would never have guessed the insights I've gotten by using another part of my creativity.


Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Dena - The Lord often gives me ideas for my writing while I journal and read the Word.

Hi Lynn - If I want my writing to touch lives, I must spend time with the Giver of Life. I don't want to write lovely words that are dead.

Hi Jean - Setting can play an important part in the creative process. For me, I need quiet and no distractions.

Hi Kristen - Oh, yes! At least twice a year, I put together and teach a Sign Language Special. The preparation involves a lot of time learning the signs and music, and consequently immersing myself in worship.

Susan :)