Coloring, Crafts, Podcasts

Creativity in a Season of Sacrifice

Wow, it’s been a while here on the old blog, hasn’t it? Imagine me dusting things off while tumbleweeds frolic in the distance. At least I can claim the cobwebs as Halloween decorations now.

First, let me address a question that I receive with a bit of frequency. I love my readers that write and check on me. Thank you so much for that and for your patience. I’m so happy that there are so many people awaiting my work.

Yes, I am still writing. In fact, I have two works-in-progress at the moment. Once Upon a Royal Christmas is the first in my new Royals of Raine series and Christmas at Starlight Lake is a stand-alone novel set in the Finger Lakes region of New York. I say stand-alone but I think the hero’s brother may demand his own story soon enough.

It’s true I haven’t published anything new recently and I’m afraid I won’t have anything new this calendar year either. I do plan to release several novels next year (2019), including the two mentioned above, so hopefully, that will ease the sting a bit.

Happier in Hollywood, one of my favorite podcasts, talks about the concept of a “season of sacrifice.” I’ve been just such a season for a while now and it’s going to continue a while longer. I hate “vague-booking” but some of the reasons for my season of sacrifice are due to other family member’s issues. While I am fairly open and willing to share, other people may be less willing to disclose. I trust you understand.

Last November, I took a hiatus from writing. I planned for it just to be over the holidays. I’d been writing flat out at a sprinting pace for over four years at that point and was just plain creatively exhausted. I never intended that the break would be as long as it has been.

I overtapped my creativity and didn’t prioritize giving myself time to refill the creative well. I am just the slightest bit type A (barely worth mentioning really) and have never been particularly good at resting or relaxing. Over the past 11 months, I’ve been forced into learning the importance of taking time to play.

Recently, Johanna Basford, coloring goddess extraordinaire, issued the 30 days of flowers challenge on her blog, to celebrate her new book, World of Flowers. She gave two free downloads, filled with 30 flowers. The idea was simple. Color one flower each day for 30 days and see if what, if any, impact it has on creativity and mindfulness.

It happened to coincide with construction on my basement. As anyone who has ever lived through a home renovation can attest, it’s a total disruption to your way of life. My dining room looks like we’re auditioning for an episode of Hoarders. I know it will be worth it in the end but getting through it is an endurance test.

I finished my 30 days of flowers #30daysofflowers today. I wanted to make it look like stained glass. I plan to frame them and hang them in my new craft room in the basement.

Did it make me more creative? More mindful? Maybe a little. But the lesson I really got from it was that it’s possible to make something beautiful with just a few minutes a day.

I’ve always loved having great swathes of time to get lost in my stories. But sometimes, in a season of sacrifice, I might not get that luxury. Instead, I have to content myself with snatching time here and there to pen a bit of description or a few lines of dialogue. It’s frustrating but a little progress is better than none.  And I’ll have my 30 days of flowers to remind me that I can still make something amazing.