Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Allie Pleiter on rest and creativity

“It’s no accident that the best idea I’ve ever had in my life — perhaps maybe the best one I’ll ever have in my life — came to me on vacation.”  Having taken a bit of a break myself twice this summer—rare for me—I’ve been fascinated by Lin-Manwel Miranda drawing a direct connection between his vacation and his spectacular success with HAMILTON.  

I am a creature of persistence.  I can dig my heels in with the best of them. If you need someone to stick in there and bang at a problem or challenge until it relents, I’m your gal.

And, I am learning, that is not the gift I used to think it was.

God is teaching me the value of rest and play—seasonally and daily.  It is the essential fuel that runs creativity and grace, the enemy of scarcity, the seed of joy.

“The moment my brain got a moment’s rest, ‘Hamilton’ walked into it,” Miranda says in a recent interview.  As I look to my next series beyond the Blue Thorn Ranch, I need some new characters walking into my brain, so I’ve been seeking ways to give it rest.

Sure, anyone who knows me knows one of my favorite ways to play is with yarn and knitting needles.  Trouble for us writers, however, is that one of the places we also love to rest and play is in books.  Rather a “busman’s holiday,” wouldn’t you say?

For me, I have to be careful about what I read or my brain kicks into “work mode.”  Audio books help with this, as does reading outside the genre I’m working in.  For example, I’m knee-deep in contemporary romance, so Kristy Cambron’s The Ringmaster's Wife was the perfect retreat for me recently.

What about you?  What do you read when you need to “play”?  Where do you find rest and rejuvenation when you need it?


  1. Allie, I love to paint (as in walls), but as you said, it's one of those things where the mind is free to think and wander and often it ends up going right back to work. Of course, it's also when I get some of my best ideas, too.

  2. Late for me training, playing with my dog is my rest, well, not really rest so much as giving my brain a break. I had a bit of a burn out recently. I couldn't think beyond the next moment let alone come up with stories. Now things are bubbling better in my mind.
    As for reading, I love a good thriller or mystery or a romance that reminds me why I love the genre. Currently I'm reading Close to You by Kara Isaac. A fun read that is taking me out of myself.

  3. Crochet gives my brain a rest, play is watching murder mysteries like ncis, midsomer murders... Or comedies like big bang theory or hallmark romance movies or reading a good book by a fav author as my job involves mental n physical aspect

  4. For me, just being outdoors helps to recharge me. Especially this time of year. Like Terri, I'm going through a burnout phase and I'm having to force myself to slow down, which is hard to do when deadlines loom, but I think God has a way of opening our eyes to what we must do to keep ourselves healthy and carry on. As for reading, I love to read any of my fellow LIS authors. It's a treat.

  5. Taking a walk and noticing the little things really recharges me. I also find quilting is a great way to relax and rest the mind. Like you, I read outside of genre - contemporary romance or women's fiction - when in the midst of a writing project.

  6. When I was in college, I used to get crafty during exam time because it let my brain rest and I'd do better on exams. I wrote most of my first (and truly terrible) romance novel during one exam week! Another exam week I painted. Another one I made a china doll. I have some crafty plans as soon as I have time for them--and it's been many years since college! You're inspiring me to do something about that. :)

  7. I love playing tennis and doing things with my granddaughters.

  8. Coming late to the comments, but his was a much needed reminder for me. Like you, I'm a stick with it and get it done kind of girl. Making time to relax is so hard for me and yet I know it's fuel for the creative mind.


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