Jumper Cables for the Mind #mfrwauthor

Time once again for the Marketing for Romance Writers blog hop. For week 33, the writing prompt is:

What I do to recharge

My first thought was to list my hobbies and things I do  in my free time . . . but then I realized that some of these activities don’t leave me with renewed energy and determination. It think there’s a real difference between fun and recharging.

Take television, for example. I learn a lot from TV (both in general and about storytelling). It’s a great way to fill time. However, instead of feeling refreshed, it usually leaves me feeling like I wasted my time, like I should do better next time. That sets up a tension in my mind that’s the opposite of recharging.

So, which of my free-time activities are the best at leaving behind a feeling of well-being? Here are a few off the top of my head.

  • Writing a good scene. Curiously, finishing a manuscript or holding the first paperback in my hands or even getting a contract seem pedestrian by comparison. The moment of creation is what matters.
  • Playing the oboe. Only if I play well enough, though. Otherwise I’m left with the feeling that I should practice more or I should make better reeds.
  • Making love to my wife or having a meaningful, beneath-the-surface talk with her. Though I admit I enjoy the former more ;-).
  • Walking the dog or taking her to the dog park.
  • Exercising. My favorite is walking, though I go through stretches when I go faithfully to the gym. Keeping in shape has always been a (secondary) goal, but I’ve always had to fight to keep at it and I frequently backslide.
  • Talking with my four children — usually on the phone and not more than once a week at best, since three of them live in other countries.

The common denominator is the feeling that I’ve accomplished something or indulged in something of meaning. I’m too aware of time’s passing to be comfortable frittering away the most precious resource in the universe.

What about you?

Click here to check out the cool romance writers taking part in this blog hop.

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14 comments

  1. Yes, time flies (faster and faster every year, it seems) and those meaningful moments become more precious. Love your list (especially #3!)

    1. Zoom! Zip! Varoooom!

      That’s my comedian’s impression of TIME.

  2. Sherry Lewis · · Reply

    I absolutely agree that there’s nothing more fulfilling than the moment of creation–whether it’s a great sentence, a strong scene, or an entire book. Enjoyed your list 🙂

    1. I was surprised, when my first books came out, how small was the thrill I got from getting my first copies from Silhouette, or seeing it in stores, etc. I was thrilled to cash the checks, though. 😉

  3. I agree with the first point so much. When I finished the first draft of my current project I was giddy all day. Now edits have started and well, not as giddy. LOL

    Walking is a good way to clear the mind. Although I’ve done it then get hit with inspiration that I forget by the time I get home. LOL

    1. Forgetting those brilliant inspirations happens to me all the time. Either that, or I put the inspiration on a post-it (I’m drowning in post-its!) and then, when I get around to inserting the inspiration I scratch my head and think “This is the dumbest idea I ever had.”

  4. Walking is a huge help to me. I think I forgot to put it on my list!

    1. Walking is better than working out at the gym because the former leaves my mind clear and the latter keeps it busy with counting reps or concerns about form, etc.

  5. Walking is one of my go to activities to recharge. Great post!

    1. When I was younger, my idea of going for a walk was 6 to 10 miles. Nowadays, it’s 6 to 10 minutes. Well, not quite, but you get the idea.

  6. “The common denominator is the feeling that I’ve accomplished something or indulged in something of meaning. I’m too aware of time’s passing to be comfortable frittering away the most precious resource in the universe.” – THIS! THIS right here. That pretty much sums it up.
    I agree with you on these things. SOme of the things I enjoy as hobbies are only satisfying if I feel I did a good job. But since I see the flaws, . . it works with writing as well. I know I could have done this better, or in hindsight, I should have spent more time on the setting. Nailing the scene, that is the best euphoria there is.
    As I regain my strength, I want to get back to a place of fitness where I felt good. I know what that feels like and I am the farthest away from it that I have ever been. It’s exhausting in more ways than one!
    Oddly though, my mental recharging at the beach does not fit the norm. I could sit and stare at the waves for an hour, but then I feel I need to get in the water and find shells. Last year, I found over a dozen sand dollars and other miscellaneous shells.
    The other FUN activity you mentioned, ahem. . . . it will be good to get back to a more normal routine now that treatment is over! And yes, this is a big stress reliever for both sides!

    1. “As I regain my strength, I want to get back to a place of fitness where I felt good. I know what that feels like and I am the farthest away from it that I have ever been.” Oh, I can identify with this. Last fall I came down with sepsis, and though I did come through it without lasting damage (whew!), it made me unable to write or walk much farther than across the room for three or four months. My strength was ravaged by the disease and then by the inactivity. The doctor said it’ll take 12 to 18 months for a complete recovery, which means I’m halfway there. To be honest, though, I feel pretty darned good, so maybe I’ve already recovered.

  7. Cathy Brockman · · Reply

    A great list. I can see how a sense of accomplishment can recharge you.

    1. In my youth, I was a ‘take each day as it comes’ sort of guy. Now I obsessed with accomplishments. I’m not at all sure it’s an improvement.

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