Guest Post – Shelley Munro

What’s with the camel? We have an adventurous Kiwi here here today. Shelley Munro is an established epublished author who shares some of the secrets of her success. Who’s Shelley? Here’s her bio:

Shelley Munro lives in New Zealand and writes romance in various genres for Carina Press, Samhain Publishing and Ellora’s Cave. She enjoys cooking and experimenting with new recipes, suffers from a bad case of wanderlust and loves to read. Her recent release, The Spurned Viscountess is currently available at Carina Press. You can visit Shelley’s website at www.shelleymunro.com or follow her on Facebook or Twitter. To keep up with all Shelley’s current news and to enter subscriber only contests subscribe to Shelley’s newsletter.

Recharging the Batteries

by Shelley Munro

The world we live in these days is a busy one. It’s full of stress and pressure to perform. We rush from our homes to work, deal with children and the hundred and one things that keep a household running. Some of you, like me, add writing to the equation.

I sold my first book in 2004 (check out Talking Dogs, Aliens and Purple People Eaters at Ellora’s Cave) and now, in 2010, I have a backlist of well over thirty books. I write quickly and admit to pushing myself. During 2010 I’ve added another seven books to my backlist, eight if I can get my butt in gear to finish the Christmas story I’m currently thinking about. That’s an incredible pace, but in the e-publishing world, I’m not unusual. I push myself to produce because I love writing, because having a backlist helps me earn a decent income and because I need to keep my name in front of readers. There is a load of competition out there! There’s a subtle pressure to perform because writing is my sole income. I complete a book and usually start another straight away. There’s one problem with the frantic pace though.

Burnout.

Burnout affects writers in different ways. We run out of ideas, lack focus and concentration or write a subpar book and collect a rejection. We writers aren’t alone with burnout. It happens in the business world and in the home as well, showing up as stress.

In order to cope with our busy lives we need to take time to recharge the batteries. So how do I recharge my batteries?

I swap hats and become a reader. I read books in lots of different romance genres. I read mysteries and the occasional thriller. I read non-fiction books on English history, self-help and recipe books.

Most days I try to step away from the computer and get some exercise. My husband and I go for a walk after dinner. I enjoy cycling and go for a bike ride whenever possible. On wet days I’ll turn on the Wii Fit. Anything to halt the dreaded “bottom spread”, which is something all writers need to watch out for.

Cooking and testing new recipes always relaxes me. I take photos of my finished products and post the recipes, photo and my experience with the recipe at my blog. Chocolate cake, Black Forest Muffins or Coconut Ice anyone? Recently I’ve been making my own bath bombs, which are perfect for a relaxing bath and an aromatherapy treatment all at once.

My husband enjoys watching television. Often we’ll watch movies, documentaries and TV shows together. My favorites at present are True Blood, Castle and Human Target. I’ve also been watching an amazing documentary on Yellowstone National Park.

This year we’ve started fostering dogs for the SPCA. So far we’ve fostered one puppy and playing with him was lots of fun – definitely a break from writing. I think we’re getting our second foster dog next month, and I’m looking forward to his or her arrival.

And finally, I’m a travel nut. I love to explore new places, either in New Zealand or elsewhere in the world. Armed with my camera and my sense of adventure, I indulge my yen to explore as often as possible. You can check out some of my photos at my website photo album.

The above things help me recharge. They definitely provide me with inspiration for new stories, even though I’m relaxing and chilling out at the time.

What are your favorite ways to recharge your batteries and boost inspiration for your writing?

Tia here–don’t forget, everyone who comments is automatically entered in my Amazon Review Drive Giveaway. My own response is in the comments.

42 thoughts on “Guest Post – Shelley Munro

  1. This is a timely post since I just finished a nine-month-long revision (oy!). I’ve been at loose ends all week, but what really helped me today was cleaning out my bedside table and putting out a fresh stack of books to read.

    Other ways to recharge: look at pictures (I like landscape photography and fantasy art), browse in a specialty store, seek and listen to new music (Pandora rules!), and do something creative that’s not word-related (play piano, doodle).

  2. Good post, Shelley. Cleaning and organizing help me recharge my batteries after a long project. Or maybe it’s the end product I like. It’s like a fresh start. Of course, that’s only as a last resort…

  3. Rabia – Congrats on finishing your revision. I have to admit that this year I’ve worked on one book after another without a break. Once I get my current book turned in I intend to ease off the gas a bit. Part of the reason is that I feel totally lost when I’m not writing. It’s such a huge part of my life!

    I like landscape photography too. My camera travels with me everywhere. No one or thing is safe. :)

  4. Marcelle – how would you like a trip to New Zealand? I hate cleaning so much. I do try to clean up my desk/work area at the end of each project. I put away all my reference books etc. The rest of the housework/cleaning – nope, not such a fan. I happily play with dust bunnies. I keep telling hubby I need a maid!

  5. Tia – thanks so much for having me to visit today. The camel was trying to lick me. He was a youngster and so cute. I like camels and have been lucky enough to ride camels in Australia, Egypt and India. This photo was taken in Egypt.

  6. It is a cute camel. I didn’t know they came in cute!

    I was so zonked last night when I posted this that I forgot to comment. I recharge by taking my daughter to the mall, playing my violin or piano, playing a role-playing game (this is getting rarer and rarer) or, of course, reading.

  7. Pingback: Tweets that mention Guest Post – Shelley Munro « Tia Nevitt -- Topsy.com

  8. Hey Shelley, great post and timely, too. I tend to get more burned out on the day job than with my writing, because more times than not the day job will keep me FROM writing when I want to.

    I will spend any down time reading though. That has been my passion for more years than I care to remember. Also organizing my office after I finish a writing project will get me ready to go again.

  9. tia – they definitely come in cute, but I’ve come across the plain nasty, smelly type too. In Algeria we met a beautiful fluffy white one. It was very pretty.

    I love visiting our local mall. I think most writers enjoy people watching, although a little retail therapy never hurts either.

  10. J – I like to walk. My husband and I go for a walk after dinner, summer and winter. We’re heading into spring down here in NZ and we’re starting to see more people walking again. It was very quiet over winter and we had the path to ourselves.

  11. Kathy – LOL I find I have to reorganize my office after finishing a book. I have stuff everywhere. My husband is very rude about my organization. ;)

    It’s difficult trying to juggle a day job with writing, isn’t it? I’m lucky because I only write these days, but in the past, I’ve done both. I used to take my alphasmart to work and write during my breaks. It was certainly good training and I can write a lot in half an hour, especially when I’m focused.

    • I love line dancing! I did some line dancing for the first time ever when hubby and I did a cruise earlier this year. It was so much fun and a good way to work off some of the delicious food they kept putting in front of us.

  12. Great post, Shelley. Like you, I recharge by reading. As a matter of fact, I’m currently reading “The Spurned Viscountess” right now. Not very far in yet, but I am thoroughly enjoying it. Your hero is darkly intriguing, and I’m fascinated by the way the heroine is able to pick up his emotions and thoughts through merely touching him. He may think she’s an English mouse, but she’s obviously so much more.

    As for activities outside of reading and writing, I’m not a great fan of housekeeping, either, and would prefer to live and play with the dust bunnies than chase after them with a vacuum. I would also like to have a maid, but, unfortunately, hubby is of a different opinion. Can’t say I really enjoy cooking either, though, so I’m luck that hubby is willing to play chef. I do enjoy walking, however, and love to plot out ideas during an evening stroll.

    Hope everyone is having a great day!

  13. When I need to recharge, I sleep. Oh, I like to read, and sew, and do jigsaw puzzles, and play with my computer, but those are for when I have some energy, or when I’m done napping, and I’m waiting for the migraine medicine to kick in. When I’m tired enough for “recharge” to fit, I’m ready for a nap, unless it’s time to go to bed for the night. {Smile, wink}

    Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

  14. Great post, Shelley. To recharge I usually grab my ipod and hit the treadmill. When I’m home alone I tend to sing along and I don’t think anyone needs to hear me panting and singing as I run. LOL.

    There’s nothing better than escaping into a good book or a great movie to just tune out and relax.

  15. A writing tutor once told me to do two things in order to beat writer’s block:

    1. write every day (I’ll explain a bit more in a second);

    and

    2. have a writer’s date.

    In regards to 1., this included ‘morning papers’. That is, when you first wake up, you have a pad and pen beside your bed and force yourself to write three whole pages of off-the-cuff, unedited, stream-of-consciousness drivel. I find this useful because it gets the mundane niggles, those intrusive voices at the back of your head, out of the way for the day. It also means you find it increasingly easy to put pen to paper and just keep writing.

    In regards to 2., it means setting aside a period of time (say an hour or a day) each week which I dedicate to my inner creative child. It might be watching the films of Hayao Miyazaki, or going to visit a lake and throwing pebbles, or visiting a carnival. It’s something that takes me out of the everyday and lets my imagination run wild. The more creative the better (such as tea parties up a tree or building a tent on the local playing fields).

    Failing that, I find actually talking to other writers, and reading other writers’ work, really helps refresh and inspire me.

    • Hi Adam – a lot of people say morning papers help get them into gear. I’ve never tried it, but I know it works for some of my friends. Since I write full time, I tend to treat my writing like a job. I start at a certain time and take breaks midday. My mind expects this and the routine works for me. It’s time to write and my brain is ready.

      I totally agree about other writer’s work being inspiring. Reading and wanting to write like my favorite authors was the impetus to get me writing in the first place.

  16. Cute camel, Shelley!

    As you know, I’ve been doing a lot more walking this past year, though I confess–I’m finding it harder to motivate now that the weather is starting to turn cold again. Guess it’s time to dust off the walking DVD!

    • Hi Heather – the really cold weather during your winter must make walking difficult. Hubby and I continue our walking throughout the winter, but we have a mild winter – usually lots of rain but no snow. Our daylight saving time has just kicked in and we’re noticing all the walkers and people with dogs coming out again.

  17. Writing daily can be a challenge, but once you get used to it, it becomes increasingly easier. Just set aside 20 mins or an hour every day. Turn off the TV, switch off your phone, and just do it.

    Really. It’s only as difficult as you make it ;)

    • I think you’re saying that when you’re feeling lazy, write anyway. I agree that that’s an excellent way to get more written, get more writing practice, and become a better writer. {smile}

      However, I am prone to bad migraines and similarly nasty spells. When one of these hit, the best thing I can do is take my medicine, take it easy, and not worry about writing until I’ve recovered fully. Because writing when I’m sick with worse than a cold doesn’t help. {half-smile}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

      • Definitely! You can’t concentrate if you’re not feeling well. That’s a bit different.

        BTW – I adore Hawaii. Hubby and I were there earlier in the year on a Cruise ship. I like Honolulu, but some of the other islands are gorgeous. We’ve visited three times now and I can’t wait to return. We had a ball.

        • Exactly. Thanks for understanding. {Smile}

          I”m glad you enjoyed your visit. {Smile} Honolulu is great for shows and shopping. However, I prefer my home town of Hilo most of the time. {Smile, wink}

          Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

      • Anne, I wondered if this was the case with you. Migraines can certainly trump your creativity! I know from experience!

    • For one of my moderately severe migraines, I can see your point. For my worst ones, I can’t even manage that. {lop-sided Smile}

      If your experience is different, that isn’t surprising. There’s a LOT of individual variability in how migraines are expressed. {Smile}

      Anne Elizabeth Baldwin

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