The dog days of August are here which means many of us are kicking back and relaxing. The importance of having regular down time has been well documented. It improves our physical and mental health, it encourages productivity when we return to work, and it fires our creativity. With that in mind, I thought I’d ask other writers how they fill the well. Stop by on Wednesday for the next three weeks as writers share what hobby or activity inspires, informs or deepens their writing.
Joan Marie Galat: As an author and freelance writer/editor, I spend way too much time on the computer. After a number of hours each day, I feel I simply can’t stare at the screen any longer. That’s when I strap on my stilts and go for a walk around the neighbourhood. The act of staying balanced clears my head more completely than any other activity. I return to the screen refreshed and often find a creative writing problem solved just by having taken my concentration off the topic. Joan Marie Galat is the author of Branching Out, How Trees are Part of Our World (Owlkids) http://www.joangalat.com/
Frieda Wishinsky: I love gardening. It’s a lot like writing. You start out hopeful, there’s a lot of waiting and editing and you never know what the results will be. Weather, insects and critters may damage your hard efforts. You need to respect “white space” and not overload the garden with “stuff”. But when it’s working, it’s magical, although ever changing. But even when things don’t work out as you’d planned (and dreamed), there’s always the hope of tomorrow, or next week– or next year. Frieda Wishinsky is the author of Avis Dolphin (Groundwood Books) http://www.friedawishinsky.com
Gisela Sherman: For some years now, I’ve really enjoyed acting. Like writing, it makes me dig into character, backstory, motivation and even dialogue. It’s also a nice change to get out from my writing desk and meet other interesting people. I come back replenished. Gisela Sherman is the author of The Farmerettes (Second Story Press) www.giselasherman.com
Ellen Schwartz: My other passion is dance. It’s non-verbal, so it gives me an escape from the words and sentences churning through my brain. And yet it’s expressive in exactly the same way writing is. Dance feeds my creativity. Ellen Schwartz is the author of Avalanche Dance (Tundra Books) www.ellenschwartz.net
Kristin Butcher: A hobby which is as addictive for me as writing is genealogy. I can spend entire days searching for family members—poring over parish records, scouring old newspapers, digging through photos, or tramping through cemeteries. In a way, trying to piece together the lives of people who died hundreds of years ago is like solving a mystery, and each time I stumble across another piece of the puzzle, I get super-excited. Since my favourite books to read for pleasure are mysteries and historical fiction, genealogy fuels my writing fire too. I am forever expanding my historical knowledge and the techniques I’ve learned in genealogy help me to create fictional mysteries. In fact, my most recent book (In Search of Sam) is about an 18-year-old girl who travels British Columbia trying to uncover her father’s past with nothing to guide her but a photograph, an old letter, a half-heart necklace, and a name. Kristin Butcher is the author of In Search of Sam (Dundurn) www.kristinbutcher.com