Wednesday, May 17, 2023

The Happy Place

by Janis Patterson

Every writer should have a happy place... not that it has to be a distinct physical location, just a place where your mind can be free and your well of creativity unconfined. 

My happy place is in the hot tub early in the morning; now that’s not quite as sybaritically self indulgent as it sounds. Sometimes the hot tub (prescribed by my rheumatologist, no less) is the only thing that keeps my arthritis at bay. On inclement or cold mornings or when we’re traveling I have to make do with a very hot shower, and believe me, that isn’t the same at all!

Anyway, when I’m sitting out there doing the extremely boring exercises I must do every morning my mind takes off on various flights of fancy. I let it free to roam as it will. Sometimes that results in a new twist on a work in process, a plan for a new project, some plans for home projects I’ll probably never do, or just some occasionally weird daydreaming. Sometimes it is little more than a nap for my mind.

While I realize how fortunate I am to have such a cushy set-up, that is merely the physical part. Happy places can be as varied as the writers that use them. A few minutes in the early morning before the family arises and the work begins when you can sit at the kitchen table and sip a cup of your favorite coffee. A quiet time in the bus on the way to work when you can just sit and look out the window. A comfortable seat in your local coffee shop where you can either people-watch or write as you will - and even better if you have a barista trained to bring you your favorite beverage at regular intervals! Or perhaps it’s just a few quiet moments between folding the laundry and unloading the dishwasher.

Whatever or wherever your happy place is, don’t forget just how important it is. It’s not selfish indulgence or an abrogation of your daily responsibilities... it is part of the recharge you owe yourself. It can be as luxurious or as practical as you can manage. It can be as long as you can make it - several hours (heaven!) or just a handspan of minutes.

Writers are special people in that we live two lives - one in real life, where we cook and work and do laundry, and the other in worlds that we create in our heads. We owe both our support and attention. Just as you wouldn’t deliberately starve your body, you shouldn’t starve your mind/imagination. Find and cherish your happy place.

For those of you who are interested in my publishing blitz, #10 THE LETTER/Janis Susan May released on 10 May, and #11 EXERCISE IS MURDER/Janis Patterson is due to release 24 May. I’m still on schedule! And... my first audio book THE HOUSE IN THE PINES is out and doing well!