Wednesday, April 6, 2022

A jump on the day

What do you read to blow out the cobwebs and invigorate your inner writer?

by Dietrich

Sometimes it’s more about what I don’t read. Doom and gloom’s often got a way of springing from the headlines and news feeds, and that can be anything but invigorating. I don’t mean to ignore what’s going on in the world, but at the same time, I don’t go looking for something that could squash a good writing day.

My inner writer’s routine: That early coffee helps to crank the engine and gets my eyes focused on my work-in-progress. Early is the best time for me to dive in. It’s when my home and the outside world are still, and writing at that hour gives me a feeling like I’ve got a jump on the day. 

What invigorates my inner writer? I’ve always loved to read, and lately I’ve been enjoying audiobooks too, listening anytime I can’t sit down and pick up a book. And what I read or listen to covers a span of genres, everything from old favorites to debut authors who are new to me. Some recent titles worth passing on: The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak, Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, Strip Tease by Carl Hiaasen, Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton, Washington Black by Esi Edugyan, and Hero Found by Bruce Henderson.

For inspiration, there’s my go-to list, those authors who’ve turned out the kind of writing I want to aspire to write. I often reread the greats like Elmore Leonard, James Crumley, and Charles Williford. And I love to read anything that makes me laugh too. Tim Dorsey and Carl Hiassen sure can add some levity to my day. If you’re not familiar with them, give Dorsey’s Serge Storm series a try, or Hiassen’s Squeeze Me, or Razor Girl.

What else blows out the cobwebs? I like to dabble in different forms of creativity. Sometimes I feel the urge to pick up a camera and take it to the woods or to the streets, searching for some interesting shots. And I’m a long-time music hack, picking up my guitar and learning something new. Other times, I might set up an easel, or clear a spot on the floor, and get in front of a canvas with pencils and paints. 

Whenever I can, I have music playing —  anything from jazz to punk to rock, whatever suits the mood — tunes that feed the soul. Something’s always playing when I’m writing.  

A final thought: As I’m writing this, our province just announced this week it’s relaxing its Covid mandates, and that sure brought a smile under my mask. That means there’s a good chance I’ll be able to take part in more reading events, festivals and conferences other than what’s online, and that sure sparks some optimism and invigorates my inner writer.

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