Thursday, May 12, 2016
KEEP CALM and CARRY ON WRITING with KAREN DUDLEY
"Whenever I finish writing a novel, I ALWAYS take time off to recover and refresh. For one thing, I need the mental break from writing, the time to let go of the world I created and re-acclimate to the real world. I also find I need to get away from the whole desk thing for a while, if only to give my body a break from sitting in one position for too long. Generally, I clean the house, or paint a room, or play in the garden. I go for lots of walks in nature, I cuddle my cats, I reconnect with friends, have a massage or two, and I take baths with essential oils and epsom salts. These last two have become more important as I’ve gotten wiser and more elegant because writing can be damn hard on the body—especially when you’ve been pushing yourself to get the book finished! Usually by the time a manuscript is done, my back and shoulders HATE me, so I need to show them some love.
After I do all this, I clean my den. I organize the notebooks and scraps of paper, I put away the research books, and I completely clean off my desk, wipe it with lemon oil, and wash the dust off my plants. I even change out the cat bed which lives on my desk. Then I smudge the room.
By the time I have finished doing all these things, I am usually ready to start on the next project—as long as life hasn’t gone and gotten all complicated for some reason or another. I think the relaxation stuff I do is pretty standard for most writers, and, for me, the cleaning of my den is a metaphorical cleansing of my mind, a way of getting rid of the stale detritus to make way for fresh creativity.
Having just finished a new manuscript a little over a week ago, I am in the middle of cleaning my den right now. And as I put books away, and dust under my computer, and pick up my daughter’s socks (which, for some strange reason, are lying on the floor in the corner) there, pulsing just beneath the surface of my consciousness, I can sense the next book waiting for me to be ready for it..."
Thanks, Karen. And I can't recommend her books enough. I especially loved her Food for the Gods and Kraken Bake - hilarious historical fantasies set in ancient Rome. Check them out! You'll be glad you did! Her bio is as follows:
Karen Dudley has written historical fantasy, crime fiction, and wildlife biology books for kids. She has just finished writing the first book in The Soul Carpets of Maret trilogy. Book One: The Mountains of the Shining Moon is a second world fantasy with a Silk Road flavour.