One side effect of being a writer is that, even when you’re on vacation, you’re still working. Sure, maybe you’re not actively outlining, revising, or racking up your page count, but as long as your curiosity is turned on, you’re working. Buddhists call this “monkey mind ” but I don’t mind a little monkeying around in service of the Muse.
Sometimes it’s your characters that keep on chattering. Sometimes it’s the mind asking what-if questions. It’d be a shame to let these inspirations escape, so we capture them in our smartphones or jot them on scraps of paper, and then we go back to our eggnog. After all, rest is important, too.
I find downtime to be essential for my writing, even if I’m still occasionally mulling over my stories. Not only is it helpful to rest the brain and let the fields lay fallow for a little while. But also, that downtime is ideal for catching up on my reading. This holiday season, here are some of the books waiting in the to-read stack:
The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson — I really enjoyed one of Martha’s workshops, and am looking forward to delving deeper into the art of plotting. I don’t know about you, but after writing thirty-odd books, I still find plotting to be a challenge.
Writing Deep Scenes by Martha Alderson and Jordan Rosenfeld — Another intriguing craft book. Since I’m a mostly a self-taught writer, I always like to supplement my knowledge with books like this.
The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough — In meeting Martha at various book-related events, I’ve always found her to be delightful, witty, and heartfelt. Am expecting the same of her well-regarded novel.
Bone Gap by Laura Ruby — I love magical realism, and since this example of it got such good buzz this year, I’m looking forward to reading it.
Born Standing Up by Steve Martin — Although I’m primarily a fiction reader, I’m hoping this autobiography offers some hints on why Steve is so funny and what the rest of us can do to strengthen our funny bones.
What’s waiting on your holiday reading list? I’d love to hear. And until then, raise a glass of eggnog for me, and have a creative New Year!