Ever wondered how an author fills their spare time away from their writing? I suspect answer is as varied as the genres we write but my ‘down time’ usually finds me lost in other creative pursuits. Recently, I rediscovered my love of drawing, something I haven’t done for over a decade. Who knows how or why I abandoned my sketch pad but I suspect it was lost along the busy path of life. Anyway, I ‘found’ my pencils packed away and unloved in a bottom drawer, alongside a brand-new sketch pad. My talents are mediocre but that’s irrelevant, it’s the act of creating an image that I’m loving. In the last three months, I have welcomed the simple thrill of graphite upon paper, observing and sketching whatever takes my fancy. I’ve spent time browsing art supplies and have gained the same comforting feeling that I do when I browse book stores – the excitement of exploring new territory and possibilities renews your energy.
Whilst publicising my books, many bloggers and readers ask about my interest in ringing church bells. Again, this activity supports my lifelong interest in history and music - as a child, I used to listen to the church bells ringing at Polesworth Abbey. Two years ago, I enquired about learning and discovered that St Martin’s Guild, Birmingham have a dedicated school for bell ringers. It looks very simple, but there is an art to handling the bell and the ‘methods’ rung certainly stimulate the ‘little grey matter’. I recognise that I am fairly insular and independent by nature so the enjoyment of ringing within a group offers a contrast to hours spent alone whilst writing. I’ve meet some incredibly interesting people through bell ringing, who also feed my creative energy.
If you follow my social media, you’ll know that my dog is never far away whilst I write. He has a tendency to sleep in the chair while I do all the work but he’s part of my creative flow. I’ve never had a dog before and so, long country walks have become a new-found enjoyment in the recent years. Many authors use walking as a means to stimulate ideas and rearrange plotlines prior to their desk work and it’s fair to say it works. I regularly leave the house with ideas swirling about my mind to return with a completed plotline ready to write.
Over the years, I’ve learnt that any activity that enables my mind to remain creatively fresh and alert is advantageous in supporting my work. And, long may that continue.