Wednesday, August 8, 2012

When your writer head needs a break

By Julie

Sometimes, you just have to get away. And I'm not talking about beach vacations or weekends holed up in a romantic inn with your significant other, or even a few hours at a coffee shop in conversation with your BFF. Though these getaways are indeed important, too, when you can swing them.

Sometimes, you really, truly need to get away MENTALLY from writing as your craft to be a better writer. And in the process, you may discover some new things about yourself, you may make some new friends, and you might even come across some additional and very unexpected ways your writing "business" can improve.

To be blunt, I'm talking about … getting our writer heads out of our writer butts. Pardon my French.

A few months ago, I attended a local event I'd been eyeing for a while. The woman who runs it is someone I've known online for a few years, and she seemed like someone I'd really enjoy getting to know in real life, too. Her house, built almost entirely from repurposed materials, is AMAZING (not that I'll ever be that woman, so I'll just admire it enthusiastically from the curb … errr … pasture). And she does this cool thing. She calls it Wine 'n Whimsy. She invites about 20-30 women to her house about once a month to make an inexpensive but unique craft you are truly excited to show off. It takes an entire two hours out of my busy writer life.

At first, I resisted. I am not, by nature, a crafty, scrapbooking, card-making kind of person. I used to enjoy crafts back in the 80s and early 90s when it was like, mandatory, but then I got interested in lots of other things and now I prefer my crafts handmade by someone else. As a rule.

But I thought, oh, why not? I will go, I will meet a few new folks who might be interested in hearing about my book, and then … OH MY GOODNESS THIS MONTH'S CRAFT IS SUPER COOL! And I decided I could deal with being crafty once a month for two hours for 20-25 bucks.

So I went late last spring. I took a friend along just in case it was awkward. It wasn't. We had a blast. I made this, which is really supposed to be stuffed with holiday lights and put on your porch or patio, but I am showing it here both unlit and also lit from behind with candles (in my dark laundry room, no less) because I can't get to my holiday lights.

It was a big group, maybe 25 women, and my friend and I mainly stuck to ourselves at our little end of the table, conversing with the few others around us. I loved seeing the amazingness of Mary's Bohemian Homestead in person. I drank a little wine, because apparently, the wine comes along with the whimsy. I had fun.

We went back the next month, or maybe the month after, and we made these pretty paper bead jewelry projects, with a lot of leeway in what we wanted to create. This time, I took two friends (Susan, from here at the blog, was one). And we had triple the fun.
My paper bead bracelet

And we drank a little wine along with our whimsy. And we met two or three more new folks. Folks who love books and like to talk about them.

I met a woman who pointed me to her husband's really strange and bizarre and GOOD short story here.

I met the mother and grandmother of my child's friend from school, who are from Germany and are excited about reading the German edition of Calling Me Home (which releases in less than TWO WEEKS!).

I met a cousin or sister or SOME kind of relative of Kathy Patrick, the Pulpwood Queen.

And once again. I had fun.

I'm going back tonight because we are making these things called pocket books. How could I pass this up?

Sample photo from,
 where you can purchase these nifty items already made,
and they probably look a lot better than mine will!
While I am a little overwhelmed with the details of my life right now, there is no way, indeed, I could pass this up.

And I'm so curious to see who I will meet and who I will talk to tonight, and how making this craft, so intrinsically wrapped up with reading, but so intrinsically using a different part of my brain, will make me a better writer.

Because I have learned that taking my writer head out of my writer butt now and then does that.

I'll post of picture of mine later!

EDIT: Here ya go! My Herman Wouk Designer Bag, with WAR AND  REMEMBRANCE on the spine!

All ready for a BEACH getaway now...


  1. Wish I could go with you tonight! I'm feeling better and I'm going to go to choir like a good girl. But I'm feeling the old FOMO rise up (for those who don't know, FOMO is Fear of Missing Out, a very useful expression I learned from the members of my son's college singing group). So have fun without me, while I'm being good instead of having fun. Sniff. Wish these events were on another night instead of Wednesday. Can't wait to see how your writer's brain creates something beautiful while off duty.

  2. Mine's still stuck -- but I'm working on it. It's a process. :) And I would love someone to have a little Wine and Whimsy and invite me. ENJOY!

  3. That sounds like a blast, Julie! I wish I didn't live so far from where this probably is. As you know, expressways and I don't get along, particularly at night!

  4. LOVE! Could you post instructions for the pocketbook so we can start other groups in other parts of the country and make them?

  5. Lois, put "how to make a book purse" in a search engine and it pulls up a bunch of different variations! We just followed the woman as she demonstrated it at the party I went to. It was lots of fun, and also a little tricky! Have fun!


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