People often ask me what I do when I’m not writing. The short answer is, a lot! I have a hundred-plus year old house to maintain, the Wonder Twins to feed, clothe, and educate, and a lovable rescue pup who wants all the attention. Oh, and I have a husband, but he’s self-sufficient these days. Mostly.
However, a life of only drudgery and writing would lead to drudgery in my writing, which is exactly what I try to avoid. For me, writing has always been a joy, and even though I earn an income from it I don’t ever want to see writing as work. Is that they best way to approach my writing business? Maybe not, but it’s worked for the past fifteen years.
Therefore, I have hobbies. Many, many hobbies. Some of them, like jewelry making, predate my writing career (although not my actual writing, since I’ve been recording my make believe adventures since grade school). Other hobbies are relatively new. For instance, last year’s birthday present to myself was a Cricut machine, and I haven’t looked back. Go ahead. Google all the things you can do with one of those babies.
Add to jewelry making and Cricut-ing all of my other diversions—baking, gardening, painting; you get the picture—and I have one packed hobby room. Okay, the art and craft supplies long ago escaped the confines of one room, and are in danger of creeping up to the second floor. But what does any of this have to do with writing?
Both everything, and nothing.
When I make a set of keychains, or a shadowbox, or a custom birthday card, those items don’t affect my stories one bit… Except that they do. Over the years I’ve learned that one of the best ways to recharge my brain for writing—some call this refilling the well—is to do something creative with my hands. Therefore, kneading dough, wire-wrapping baubles, and planting petunias all become part of my writing process. Although, I haven’t written any stories about baubles or petunias… yet.
Diving into a new non-writing project never fails to stimulate story ideas. A few years ago, I redid my raised vegetable beds, and came out of the project with a character whose father runs a farm-to-table restaurant, where all the vegetables are grown on their family’s ancestral land. A few months later I made dozens of custom holiday cards for my kids’ schools, and began writing a trilogy about the Scottish queen of winter. And after a month long trial and error bake fest, during which I tried to create the ultimate homemade brownie recipe, I realized that my stressed out, ghost hunting character probably relieves stress with chocolate. I know I do!
As you can see, these hobbies don’t just feed my soul. They feed my writing, by forcing me to be creative in a different, sometimes unconventional manner. I can’t wait to see which hobby I pick up next.
Jenn’s latest release, Oleander, is available here: https://books2read.com/poisongarden-oleander