(Editor’s Note…If you’re like me, adjusting to a new, COVID-19 world is a bit stressful. Everywhere you look…radio, TV, newspapers, and even the internet…are stories of the latest stats from around the world. Hospitalizations. Unemployment. Social distancing. How do we keep our sanity in the middle of all the craziness?
BY STAYING CONNECTED WHILE STAYING SIX FEET APART
For the next several weeks, many of my writerly friends will be virtually dropping by to inspire, uplift, and make us laugh as we look for reminders that even the scariest of times do not last forever. I hope you enjoy this FEEL GOOD FRIDAYS series. If you want to know more about me, Donna L Martin, or my books, check out my Story Catcher Publishing website at www.storycatcherpublishing.com)
Recharging Your Creative Battery
By Sue Bradford Edwards
Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, picture books or novels, writing takes emotional energy. That is why I advise my writing students and critique partners to charge their creative batteries.
To do this, it helps to know your character strengths. To find out what they are, visit the VIA Institute on Character and take the Character Strengths Survey. This isn’t a quick Facebook quiz to learn what job you held in medieval Prague or which House the Sorting Hat would assign you. This psychological evaluation rates you on twenty-four personality traits.
My five top strengths are:
- Creativity which includes artistic creativity and developing new ways to think of and do things.
- Love of Learning new knowledge and also new skills.
- Judgement, which might also be called discernment, meaning an ability to think things through and examine them from all sides.
- Gratitude which includes being aware of good things and expressing thanks.
- Bravery in acting on or speaking up about what is right.
Knowing your strengths can help you chose ways to recharge your batteries. One of my favorite things to do is take MOOC (massive online open courses), most often at Coursera. I’ve taken classes on Osteoarchaeology, The Science of Well-Being, How to Organize an Empire the Assyrian Way, Ancient Marine Reptiles and Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life. I enjoy myself because I’m learning something new and I very often find new story ideas as well.
I also like to make things. In the winter, I bake bread and desserts. I bead, knit and crochet. Last year, I bought a loom. That’s been the most challenging of my hand crafts, but I always come away from my weaving ready to write.
What should you do to recharge? It will depend on your strengths.
Maybe your top trait is gratitude. Spend some time thanking people for the things they do that you appreciate. Write a note to the friend who dropped off a fresh loaf of cinnamon bread. Send a message to a neighbor whose front garden is a cheery addition to the neighborhood. Or pass on kind words to someone who put a lot of effort into something that benefited your community.
Or your top trait might be humor. Spend some times reading a collection of humorous essays. Or watch your favorite comedian on YouTube. Or you could watch an episode of your favorite sit com. Spend some time laughing out loud and you will discover new energy.
If kindness is your top trait, practice random acts of kindness. Or even not-so-random acts. Pick up the litter in your neighbor’s front yard. Give a stranger a compliment. Reconnect with an old friend – this can be as simple as messaging someone through Facebook.
Charging our battery means that you are taking a break in a meaningful way. Find ways to use your strengths every day. Do this and you will keep a positive charge on your creative battery. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I just saw a video on how to make a paper rose. I feel the urge to try something new.
“Hidden Human Computers discusses how in the 1950s, black women made critical contributions to NASA by performing calculations that made it possible for the nation’s astronauts to fly into space and return safely to Earth. Aligned to Common Core Standards and correlated to state standards. Essential Library is an imprint of Abdo Publishing, a division of ABDO.”
Available on Amazon and other online retailers.
Sue Bradford Edwards is a nonfiction author with twenty-six books ranging from The Ancient Maya and The Evolution of Mammals to The Who. If you are interested in writing children’s nonfiction, but don’t know where to start, she teaches Research: Prepping to Write Nonfiction for Children and Young Adults at Women on Writing and is creating a new class on writing nonfiction for children and teens. To find out more about Sue Bradford Edwards, check out her blog, One Writer’s Journey.