Oddmall in Akron, OH this past weekend was great! I will maybe write more about my weekend later, there is at least one short story from my hotel stay alone, but suffice to say this is the coolest shopping show I have ever been to. I will be back at the one on Valentine’s Day weekend, and I highly encourage you to attend and check out the awesome off the wall and sometimes downright disturbing wares.
I have a lot of irons in the fire right now, but first and foremost, I need a nap. So instead of talking at length, I am going to give a quick guide on a few things I think all folks (especially creative storytelling types) need to do to keep the wheel of inspiration rolling.
- Drink more water.
This really goes for every human out there, but I am pretty sure it is a scientific fact that your brain does not work properly without water. I know the rest of your body does not. Put down the soda, put down the third cup of coffee, and just have a glass of water. It will help.
- Take a nap.
This is where I am heading in just a few minutes. Sleep is essential, and you cannot create at your best when you are exhausted. I am lucky, in that I can take an hour off from my work at home schedule to catch up after a long weekend but if you don’t have that luxury and need it, try a nap in your car over your lunch break. Sleep is good. Sleep in the middle of the day is great.
- Go trick or treating with someone else’s kids.
Seriously, join up with a family for which you have no responsibility and enjoy the ride. It is fascinating to see how other people live, and who their neighbors are, and how they interact with each other. It is great to experience traditions outside your own, and see how other people do things. You might just learn something useful and brilliant, like bonfires on the front lawn!
- Stay at a crappy hotel.
At least once in your life, stay somewhere cheap (but safe). I am not saying settle for a room with broken pipes in the bathroom dripping water all over the floor and shattered glass in the window. (That was the second room I rejected, after they first tried to put me in a smoking room.) But stay somewhere that you just know the fire alarm is going to go off at midnight because some nut is smoking weed right under the smoke detector, and you have to shuffle out bleary eyed with the rest of the guests only to be woken up again at 2am by a pack of thirteen year old boys seeking someone to buy them beer. I promise you that you will end up with some great stories to tell.
- Read more books.
For an author, this is crucial! I find myself going weeks sometimes without reading someone else’s work. I get so caught up in my own stories, and I don’t want to slow down, or be influenced by outside forces… But this is a bad habit to fall into. We don’t create in a vacuum. We have to explore outside influences and see what others are doing that we can learn from. We have to be re-energized by the written word, masterfully crafted. Every writer I know was first someone who loved to read. Don’t let go of that love of reading when you write.
- Buy art that inspires you.
It is true, art can be expensive, especially good art. And it is very hard, at least for me, to justify spending anything these days unless it is going to bills or food. But once in a while, if you find a piece that speaks to you, get it. In my case, this was Thomas, the owl child. He may not wind up in a story, but maybe one day he will. And he is certainly cool enough to be on my mantle.
- Be nice to police officers.
Especially the ones that tell you to roll down your window when you are in an unfamiliar downtown at 7am on a Saturday. They might just save you life by informing you that you are facing oncoming traffic on what you incorrectly assumed was another one way street. Just saying…