Thursday, December 21, 2006

More Guilty Pleasures

Hey, We’re lucky enough to have Kim Howe back blogging about Guilty pleasures, a definite theme for us for the past couple of weeks.

I want to remind everyone, Kim’s made it through to the next round of the American Title III, so please go to the Romantic Times website and vote for her.

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty pleasures…we all have them. Sinfully dark chocolate coupled with a glass of Merlot, luxurious baths filled with sensual oils, fries with mayo and ketchup. I could go on, but when it really comes down to it, the guiltiest pleasure of all is free time—something writers desperately need.

Our lives are filled with deadlines and obligations. Most of us race from car pools to local schools, trying to squeeze in all our commitments. We juggle work and family and rarely find time for ourselves. When we have a spare moment, we check our e-mail for urgent messages, and then squeeze in an hour of writing.

Definitely not ideal conditions to welcome the creative muse.

So, how do we change our mindset and set aside free time? Perhaps we can draw insight from one of my other guilty pleasures—traveling. In North America, we have a “work harder, work better” mentality. Maybe this isn’t the right approach?

People in the islands don’t worry if they can’t complete a task today. “No pressure, no problem” is their frustrating reply to our urgent request for service. In Africa, the greatest pleasures are derived from the simple things in life, like watching the sun set over the Mara. Desert dwellers in the Middle East spend hours roaming the sands with their animals. Time is equally precious, but not as frantic.

I know we all have commitments, but maybe canceling a social engagement or booking in personal time is the right approach for writers. Lessons learned from other cultures can help us carve out time to write, allow us to daydream about writing, let boredom set in.

Boredom? That’s right. Our best ideas often come from our subconscious. Consider your experiences for a moment. When do most ideas come to you? Unless you’re really lucky, it’s not when you’re sitting at the computer trying push forward in your plot. It’s usually in bed at night or first thing in the morning, while you are doing a routine activity (like washing those Christmas dishes), or during rhythmic exercise. At those times, you are relaxed and open to exploration. Our right brains aren’t squashed by our left brain’s logical dominance. If we don’t allow ourselves that critical free time, our subconscious can never unleash its incredible powers.

Next time a family member finds you relaxing on the couch, don’t feel guilty. You really are working.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Kim Howe
American Title III Finalist, ONE SHOT, TWO KILLS
Please visit


Maureen McGowan said...

Loved this Kim!! Ideas do come when we're not frantic. If I make a new year's resolution, it'll be to create more moments of calm, even boredom.

Molly O'Keefe said...

You know maybe that's why I'm able to get so much done these days...I spend a lot of time lying on the floor letting my son crawl around me!!! I'm always pretty calm and sometimes a little bored...Kim!!! You genius!

Now, if I could just get things to stay like this forever!!!

Happy Holidays!

Sinead M said...

I'm definitely going to work on creating more moments of boredom in my life.
Great idea.
Have a merry Christmas.

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