Sunday, February 01, 2015

A Little Something for the Weekend - Challenges with Liz Fielding

The wonderful Liz Fielding is here at the Pink Heart Society talking about the challenge of doing something completely different to writing...

The weekend is mostly about catching up on the jobs that you’re too busy, or too tired to do at the end of the working day, but it should also be about refilling the well. 

Writers can too easily become tunnel-focused on the project they’re working on. Burn-out lies in forgetting the challenge of doing something different. Occasionally we need to switch off the computer, abandon Twitter and Facebook and do something completely different

I’ve been going down the challenge route recently. 
Once upon a time, when I was young and living in Africa, if I wanted a new dress I had to make it. The children came along and I made stuff for them, too. Then came a time when the cost of patterns, material and all the other stuff you need (they’re called “notions” I seem to recall) was more expensive than buying ready made — and time itself was always in short supply. Eventually the sewing machine was put away in the bottom of the wardrobe and pretty much forgotten.
Now, though, my oldest granddaughter is about to celebrate her fifth birthday and since she has just about everything a five-year old could desire, I decided to make her something money can’t buy — her very own super-hero cloak (her special powers are rainbows and butterflies). Actually it took quite a lot of money, but you know what I mean!

Out came the sewing machine – a gorgeous Elna Lotus which I bought nearly forty years ago and which, despite twenty years of neglect, responded to the first touch with its familiar purr. And even if the brain was a little slow to recall how everything worked, the hands seemed to remember.

Buying material was fun. I’d forgotten the sheer joy of walking around a fabric shop — seeing all that luscious stuff; the colours, the textures of the fabric, the racks of threads. Then it was online to hunt down appliqué decorations. I have a gorgeous pink sparkly butterfly for the centre back!

That was the easy part.

Looking at a McCalls pattern for the first time since the year nineteen-hundred-and-frozen-to-death was like trying to speak a language I once knew but hadn’t used for a very long time.  And I may have been a little ambitious in my choice of material.

Somewhere, deep down, I must have known that stretch crushed velvet (the cape is reversible - midnight blue for the outside, silver for the inside) was going to be well, a stretch. And the scissors needed sharpening. (At this point one-click was beginning to look very attractive!)

It took all of Saturday and Sunday afternoon to get the fabric laid out flat (I don’t remember it being that hard!) and pinned and I had to pull my big girl pants up before I summoned up the courage to make that first cut. But a little fear is good — remember that advert that said we should do something that scares us every day to keep the heart healthy?

There was a real “high” when I’d tacked it together and it hung straight and true. That tingle of a challenge successfully countered. And this weekend I'll be on the sewing machine - every stitch a potential for disaster!

So what have you done recently that gave you a buzz? Probably something more challenging than slicing into some difficult fabric.

Did you slide down a zip wire? Climb a mountain? Take a trip in a hot air balloon?

What do you recommend to get the adrenalin racing for someone whose knees and hips are a bit dodgy and hates exercise? :)

Liz Fielding is the multi-award winning author of more than sixty romances.  Her next book, Vettori's Damsel in Distress is published by Harlequin Mills and Boon in July. Her Beaumont Brides trilogy box set will be available on all eBook platforms from 9th – 16th February for 99c:

The Beaumont Brides trilogy charts the loves of three women – Felicity Beaumont, Claudia Beaumont and Melanie Devlin.

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