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Pen IN Hand
Get Yourself A Hobby!
By Peggy Bechko
July, 2005, 11:58

ait. What, you say?

Writing is my hobby. Or at least it's what I'm calling my hobby until I can make it pay off. Besides, I don't have time for wasting! Um, yes, well, I stand by my statement.

As we all know by now, or at least the great majority of us know, the two sides of our brain are quite different. The analytical and the creative, caged up inside that one cranium with little room left for anything else. And this can, occasionally mean war. And that terrible conflict can bring on stultifying inertia.

So, what can we do? Well, one thing for sure is we don't want to analyze it to death! What you want to do is to feed the analytical side until it burps with satiation, then give the creative side free rein to run amok.

How to accomplish this?

I repeat, get a hobby.

Here's my method and it's worked very well over the years. And actually, it works well for any kind of writing. Over my career I've written novels, articles, grant requests, screenplays and more. So I've tested this method more than once.

If you know what your project is (as opposed to fishing for ideas) the first thing to do is research and groundwork. Find out everything you can. Take notes, visit websites judiciously. Saturate yourself. Whether it's background for a novel or statistics for an article, really haul it in.

Next step, we're going to let it percolate. This is where the hobby comes in. I have several. I work with beads and silver. I've been known to knit (that one's real relaxing) and I have a blank journal dedicated to nothing but doodling. Which one I pick up just depends on my mood.

If I'm a bit antsy the doodling usually wins out. I have page after page filled with circles, spirals, stick figures, tree and bush doodles, anything that comes without thinking. You might want to paint with watercolors or have a sketchbook handy, make things grow in your garden, or something else entirely. It should be something fun and easy for you.

If possible, even keep a miniature version of your pastime in your office or at your workspace so you can give it a few minutes whenever the need strikes you. If you're into gardening, keep a few houseplants. Take a few minutes to water them, pinch off dead leaves, give a pinch of fertilizer.

If you're a doodler, keep paper handy. Knitter? Some small project you can pick up and work in for a few minutes. Be creative and indulge yourself.

So, what does all this gain the writer? Besides feeding our inherent urge to procrastinate I mean. Simple. When you shift from the analytical to the creative (your hobby) it's a sort of limbering up. Hopefully your analytical side has been pretty much sated and is taking a nap.

Soon, though, you'll probably notice that thoughts are beginning to flow in the background while you're doodling or doing some other sort of creative work. Keep a note pad nearby, but don't give in and give up your hobby too soon. Make notes, keep playing.

You'll be surprised at how much more swiftly the creative juices will flow.IN Icon 

Author of Doubleday western novels, Harlequin romances, Fictionworks' fantasies (Ebook format), Peggy Bechko has also optioned screenplays domestically and abroad, written for an animated series and for variety of other venues. She's working on a new novel and collaborating with a producer on a animated series.

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