Friday, 18 December 2015

Guest Post: Creative Recharge

Lindsay Bamfield started writing fiction about 10 years ago. She has written a number of short stories and flash fiction pieces and has been published in Greenacre Writers Anthology, Voices from the Web 2012, The Best of Café Lit 2012, Mslexia, Writers’ News and Writing Magazine. 

She has won prizes in Writers’ News, Writing Magazine and Words with Jam competitions and has been shortlisted in others. She is currently re-working her first novel with advice from an editor and has a second novel on the back-burner. 


How do I recharge my writing batteries? I’m not sure I’m the right person to answer this as my batteries are still somewhat depleted after illness and debilitating treatment, but my writing activity, although still less than ideal has bounced back to some extent. It was only after being ill that I understood just how much energy writing requires. Exhaustion does not engender creativity.

After a frustrating dry-spell when I wanted to write but either couldn’t come up with ideas or couldn’t seem to get them to the page, I used the ideas that helped me write in the first place. Writing exercises, from the first writing groups I belonged to, using a prompt – pictures worked best, but I also tried snippets from the news or a quote. I gave myself permission to churn out something less than wonderful – and that was the most important bit, because it took the pressure off.

‘Less than wonderful’ can be abandoned without harm or re-worked into something better. Flash fiction fitted the bill; 50 to 500 word pieces were manageable. To motivate myself I took part in some WriteOnSite competitions. After a few attempts with no placement and a couple of ‘near misses’ I managed to win one which was a great boost.

I examined old short stories and flash fiction pieces that had been rejected or become also-rans in competitions and began reworking them – here I could put my writing skills to work without having to come up with new ideas. One rejigged flash fiction won third place in quite a major competition while another won a smaller competition.



I’ve always been a voracious reader as I find it both relaxing and stimulating – so when writing takes energy I don’t have, reading helps boost it and so is a vital part of my writing process. It’s all research!



Getting out and about more also benefits my writing. For ages my energy levels got me to work to earn the money but there was none to spare for much else, so it wasn’t until I began to do more, whether going for a walk, or visiting new places that vitality began to reawaken. 

Observing new surroundings, whether a local café or park, travelling on a train or on a trip to an amazing Wonder of the World such as Machu Picchu is excellent for revitalising the soul and that helps revitalise writing as well as the stimuli of new material. (Mmm how about tax-relief on the cost of my next trip?)

My other battery-charger is simply to have days with no writing. If I am tired and don’t feel like writing, I don’t. So often I see writers advising others to write every single day no matter what. I disagree. A day off or several, does wonders for me. Sometimes I end up writing after all simply because I don’t feel obliged to do so.

All in all although the rejections may still outweigh the successes, I’m now doing more writing! 


5 comments:

  1. I think you're right to take a break and read or do something else if you really don't feel like writing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I totally agree Patsy. We all need a little time away from the work, even if we love doing it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. A lovely post, Lindsay, with lots of good ideas and advice. I always find that reading is the best activity when I'm not writing and never fails to bring new inspiration. I recently re-read a favourite short story and was amazed by how much extra depth I discovered in it by focusing on it line-by-line and noticing all that wasn't said between the words. I wrote down my thoughts and now use these notes to help me when I'm writing. xx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good advice, Joanna. I will try that too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Threaded through your post is some wonderful advice, Lindsay. 'Permission to write something less than wonderful' and 'if you don't feel like writing then don't'. I absolutely agree.

    ReplyDelete