Let’s face it, writing is not only difficult and frustrating, it’s also very lonely. While we do spend some time interacting with other writers about our process or our promotion, writing is a largely solitary activity and us authors spend a questionably-healthy amount of time communicating solely with the fictional characters we have created in our own heads.
I won’t get into the myriad reasons why this is the greatest job in the world, but every once in awhile, it’s necessary to take a step back and get away from the lonely office and misbehaving imaginary friends to regroup and recharge.
For me, that could mean one of several things. Sometimes I’ll pick a different project or deadline and refocus my efforts to be productive elsewhere. With two pen names, freelance work and a start up company, there is never a lack of to-do and I am can always find someplace to put my energy. But sometimes it’s not the project, sometimes I just need to get out of the office and do something else, in that case, I tend to bake.
By strict order of my family, though, I’m not allowed to do this very often. I don’t hold back when I bake, and I’ll go full butter and sugar, so baking is fairly unsustainable way of managing my work and myself.
In direct contrast to baking, my go-to, author pick me up is something simple and much better for my health. I walk and I listen to audiobooks.
This helps enormously for several reasons. One, writing is sedentary and I stress eat, so walking is one great way to keep my body active nearly every day. My neighborhood is a beautiful amalgam of old houses, dating back to the 1700s and filling in every era since. It is peaceful and lovely and I have garnered much writing inspiration from simply looking at trim and balconies and gardens and putting my feet to the pavement.
And then there are the books. Audiobooks have become one of my all time favorite things, as I’ve written about in the past, and they are fundamental to any career or artistic success I might have. Sometimes the very best way to crack through writer’s block or lack of motivation is to take a step back and read, or rather, listen, to watch some of the genre’s best play with syntax and character arc, to come away from a well-loved book understanding– or perhaps not understanding– why it is so well-loved.
These books have become a staple in my life, and I’ve gone through hundreds of audiobooks over the years. They offer entertainment and inspiration and remind me exactly why I love writing the genre so damn much. Combine that with fresh air and a jaunt around my beautiful neighborhood on a beautiful summer’s day and I am one happy camper.
In the movies, they always show a writer shooting back whiskey and watching the rain, or sitting in a coffee shop waiting for refill after refill. While I’m all aboard the coffee train, I can’t work in cafes and I’d like to think I’m too much of a professional to drink on the job. But though it’s not as sexy or as moving, I’d prefer my technique any day. Because most of the time, a good walk and a good book is just the cure for what ails ya.♦
I’m thinking it’s a good thing for me that I don’t enjoy baking 🙂 I’d undoubtedly go full butter and sugar, too. Otherwise, what’s the point??? Your neighborhood sounds lovely!
Agreed! If you’re going to bake, go for the gold, right? And it is! I’m very lucky to be a writer in an old, historic town 😀 Thank you so much for dropping by!
My family has gone on a modified Keto diet, so for the moment, baking is out. Until Christmas, lol! Right now, I enjoy about a half a shot of vodka in a glass of Kool-aid while I’m fixing dinner.
That’s probably better because I keep saying I’m not going to…and I accidentally ate like 10 cookies for breakfast while making the next batch yesterday. I’m a huge fan of your coping too, though!
Yes, I’ve had to nix baking during the regular year too, and downsize quite a bit at Christmas. My kids think carbs are the devil, and my husband and I have been cleaning our plates since grade school on behalf of the starving children in other parts of the world, LOL! We certainly don’t need to eat more cakes and cookies. I feel like such a voyeur watching the Great British Baking Show.
It’s so bad, right? I go through Pinterest boards just salivating and knowing I *shouldn’t* look at the recipes! I admire the fact that you stuck to it, though! I just…keep making cookies…
I would love to visit your neighborhood and view these houses! We went to Hannibal, MO a few years ago and it is filled with old houses. WE did a walking tour of five streets of houses – it was exhausting in the summer heat, but enjoyable.
I”ve had to nix the baking bug, but when the weather is cooler, I will try my hand at sugar-free cooking. There has to be a way to make things that don’t taste like cardboard without sugar! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for stopping by! That tour sounds totally delightful – If you’re ever in Rhode Island, I know they have tours of the old mansion hours that are to die for, full kit, complete with ballrooms and servants quarters!
I’ve found some great gluten-free recipes on Pinterest, so I’m sure there’s good sugar-free ones too. Either way, it’s just fun to look at the pictures 😀
I love to eat more than I love to bake- so I try to avoid it for those reasons. Great post!
Thank you so much! And I’m the same way–half the reason I do it is because I get to eat through the whole process 😀 (I found a shortbread cookie recipe with no eggs, and ended up only baking about half the dough by the time I was done…)
On another blog hop stop where people discussed pedicures, I felt very ‘other’ because of my gender. If you talk about baking, though, I’m right there with you. I come from a long line of professional bakers (in the old world not the new, unfortunately for me). And we’re talking patisserie, not boulangerie. In my family, baking was a male thing.
I find that so fascinating, how these ‘feminine’ hobbies and interests were once considered masculine trades — like art, for example. I suppose it makes sense, given that women weren’t allowed to work!
So, does it run in the DNA? Can you make a mean pear and almond chocolate croissant? (If so, I’ve been dreaming of one I had in Paris for five years, so please share!)
After reading about everyone’s baking skills, I might have to dust off some recipes. Problem is, I’ll eat it all…Your neighborhood sounds like a beautiful place to burn off those calories!
If you bake, you have to share – those are the rules! (Pictures, at least :D) And right?? I ate so many cookies for breakfast the other day… You’re right! I’m very lucky, my neighborhood is a delightful source of beauty and inspiration, so I get to eat and then walk! (Eat *and* walk?)
What are you going to not-bake today? 😀 Thanks for stopping by!