This Wednesday, PHS Editor Donna Alward goes in search of new ideas in several places - including her dirty oven.
The first of the month saw me a bit conflicted. There was the celebratory side that was cheering that I had a brand new contract, and then there was the down side that realized that my editor wasn't keen on my latest ideas and I needed to come up with something different, with lots of emotional depth and something, well, fresh.
Problem is - I wasn't feeling very fresh at all.
In fact, that Friday night I was wracking my brains trying to come up with a concept until the old grey matter started to hurt. I was kind of wishing I could just hit a button and some beautiful, wonderful high concept idea would come rushing out. But nope. With the hurting brain came stress. And as many of us know...the crows of doubt absolutely FEED on stress and hurting brains.
I had to stop thinking. Or at least stop thinking for a little while.
You see, I learned long ago that sometimes the answer comes when you are not looking for it. It's that whole watched pot never boils thing...forest for the trees....you know the deal. But how do you turn off your brain, especially when it's racing, pumped up with insecurity and desperation?
Well, I thought, if the ideas were playing hard to get, then I would too. Saturday morning I got up and began cleaning the house. I made sauce in the morning and built a lasagna in the afternoon. I cleaned the oven, of all things! I worked on a knitting project and did some reading.
Sunday I did three loads of laundry and the mending and cleaned out the kitchen desk drawers and baked an apple crumble. I finished the book I'd been reading and also that knitting project. And at the end of it all, I had the seeds of a new book idea.
Sometimes you have to let go and let things come to you rather than go searching with a big club, that's all. I don't know if I'm one of those vulnerable to the power of suggestion, but I do know that when I free my mind, the answers will come. I've had it happen time and time again - though usually it doesn't require the desperate measure of obsessive cleaning. Yuck!
What about you? How do you get your answers?
Donna's next book is her novella, A Bride for Rocking H Ranch included in Montana, Mistletoe, Marriage. Check out an excerpt here!