Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Four Hobbies that Fuel My Writing Creativity

Erica here:

I love writing. I love the exhilaration of meeting the characters, crafting the story, discovering what happens.

But writing, while it charges me up, also depletes me.

Writing fiction is an act of creativity that comes from somewhere deep inside me, some well of emotion and thought and word-smithing that is finite and that needs refilled from time to time.

And fiction writing isn't the only writing I do. I also blog, keep up with email correspondence, try to stay connected with friends and readers on Facebook, pin stuff on Pinterest, and all the other online social stuff that is available out there. All of it takes time and mental energy and creativity.

I love it, but it can be draining.

I've found that when the well gets dry, one of the best ways for me to replenish my stores is to do something else creative that isn't related to writing.

Here are four hobbies that I have that help me refresh:

1. Cross Stitch - This one is probably my favorite. I love the colors, the intricate designs, and the feeling off accomplishment that comes from finishing a big project. (You can find a lot of my cross stitch designs, the ones I've made and the ones I would like to make on my pinterest page here:

I made this for my dear friend Mary Connealy. If you haven't read her books, treat yourself! You'll love them!

I made this sampler for myself. So much fun!

This is one of my largest projects. A quilt cross-stitch for each month, assembled into a wall hanging quilt. This took me several years to finish, but I love it. If you click on my pinterest link, you'll see the individual cross-stitch blocks.

This is what I'm working on now. It's one of four samplers that I have to complete. When they are all done, I will put them into a wall hanging.
2. Quilting - I'm fairly new to quilting. I've done some major projects, and some smaller projects. At the moment I have some baby quilts to sew up to be given to a charity that provides baby items to moms in need.

This is on my "I want to try this" list. It's a rag quilt. I love the colors on this one.

This is a Red Cross Signature Quilt that my sister in law and I made. It is embroidered with the names of all the World War 1 Veterans of Dodge County, MN, and is on display at the Dodge County Historical Society in Mantorville, MN.

I made these gift baskets as prizes at some book signings, and in each one is a "Log Cabin" patterned hot pad. The Baskets are sitting on a "Log Cabin" table runner that was part of the grand prize in a 9 author giveaway to celebrate Log Cabin Christmas hitting the New York Times Bestseller list.

3. Crocheting - I crochet mostly baby blankets as gifts. The repetition of the stitches is soothing, and the yarn is so soft. :)
This was my first time using chenille yarn, and it was so fluffy! The pattern went super fast.

4. Scrapbooking - I do this with my daughter, and we make a new page every time I have a milestone event in my writing life. Each story gets its own page, as well as any awards, major events, etc. Currently, I need to make three new pages, One for the Dime Novel I'm currently writing, slated to release in March of 2015 and titled The Legend of Obadiah Walker: The Glorious Defeat of the Dickenson Gang, One for a novella releasing in a collection with RedBud Press this summer that is currently untitled (something I need to fix ASAP!) and one for Books & Such Literary my literary agency.

Here is the page for A Bride Sews With Love in Needles, CA. You can see the Red Cross Quilt, a cup of tea, since my heroine was a Harvey Girl Waitress, and horses, since my hero trained horses for the US Cavalry.

One of the best things about scrapbooking for me is that I get to do it with my daughter. She is a good page designer.

This is a page celebrating my story repackages. My publisher, Barbour, often repackages previously-released stories into anthologies and collections. The last of my repackaged Heartsongs, Colorado Dawn, releases in just under TWO WEEKS! We're going to have a party here at Coffee Cups & Camisoles the first week of December to celebrate, so be sure to come on back for the festivities!

How do you refuel your creative fires? What hobbies to you have?


  1. Besides reading, I crochet. I can do counted cross stitch but it's harder to see those little squares the older I get. Your work is beautiful!

    1. Thank you, Gail. I hear you on the cross-stitch squares. I can't work on 18 count anymore. :( It's just too tiny. What do you crochet? Afghans? Sweaters? Hats and mittens?

    2. I do 14 count. Never was brave enough for 18. I crochet mostly simple afghans, adult and baby. I also do scarves, and hats. No socks. I'm thinking about trying a Christmas stocking. I have 3 my grandmother made before she passed away but my family has grown. My proudest cross-stitch was an eagle flying over mountains with the eagles wings verse from Psalms for my son. Took a very long time. It's pinned on my Pinterest board, Things I've Made.

    3. The eagle sounds beautiful! I find a lot of satisfaction in those big projects. Christmas stockings sound like a lot of fun! :)

  2. I cross stitched for years, but haven't recently. You are very inspiring and talented. I truly am not a crafty person.

    1. I never think of myself as a crafty person, then someone says "What about...?" and I have to have a re-think! Sadly, cross-stitch isn't in vogue right now, so finding patterns and supplies is more challenging. :(

  3. Loved viewing your needlework and scrapbooking - Erica - thank you!! It's all absolutely beautiful, blessed are the recipients of one of your handmade items!!

    I've never enjoyed needlework, used to scrapbook years ago before it became fashionable and so much fun - however, don't make the time for it either. I have many photos and recipes that need to be in albums but find spending time reading or online more fulfilling. I do enjoy baking for guests and friends (don't do it otherwise as I live alone), traveling whenever physically possible, and Christian music. Photography used to be a huge hobby, not so much anymore as I'm not physically able to travel as much now as in the past. Let's not forget reading - books are music are two of the "must-have" hobbies in my life. I also collect angels, dolls and beautiful lights and candle holders - however, it has slowed down greatly due to lack of space, LOL!! I enjoy home decor, surprising others with gifts and coming up with ideas for gifts which I purchase for gifting through-out the year (books being one of the gifts often used).

    Looking forward to the "Colorado Dawn" party - congrats on your numerous writing achievements!!

    1. Bonnie, I love collections, and yours sound delightful! Books and music are requirements around here, too. :)


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