Creativity, time-out and tasty rice

Okay, confession time: I’ve been in a writing slump.

I had a knock-back (or two) and I didn’t manage to shrug them off with a casual ‘it’s their loss’.

I’ve spent a lot of time wondering what I’ve done wrong, questioning the direction I’ve taken, my genre, and my ‘voice’. Perhaps not surprisingly, this has had a knock-on effect on my creativity.

I’ve been reading blogs (more than usual), aimlessly clicking through the internets and, instead of being inspired and uplifted by the brilliance (and community) found within, I’ve felt drained and miserable.

In short, I was beginning to think that whatever writing talent and drive I’d once had, was gone. Used up. I was a husk, I tell you! A self-dramatising husk!

So, I decided to take time off and focus on other things: Sewing, reading, gardening and walking. And, praise be, it’s working… For starters, I’ve felt happy again. Huzzah!

Then, while I was potting these flowers, I felt the tickle of a new idea in the back of my mind. Next, a character’s voice began chattering in my head.

It seems that creativity can be like a shy woodland creature; if you blunder towards it, it runs away. If you pretend you’re not looking, sometimes it creeps out of the undergrowth and nuzzles your hand. Or something.

Hello, little deer. Are you my missing creativity? Please say ‘yes’.

So. Since I’m feeling a wee tiny bit better, I’m going to take part in Karen Mahoney’s Spring writing challenge. I’m signing up to write 30,000 during April. That’s just 1000 words a day. 1000 more than I’ve been managing recently, but still. Gotta love a deadline. Anyone want to join me?

In other news, I had the urge to cook something new on the weekend. I spotted this spicy jambalya recipe on my sister-in-law’s drool-inducing cookery website and decided to give it a go. I hoped that the addition of chorizo might persuade my son to choke down some rice, much in the way that a bucket of parmesan makes risotto palatable to him.

Some recipe notes in case you want to follow in my footsteps (and I urge you to do so – it’s yummy):

I didn’t have a carton of tomatoes, so used a tin of Napolina chopped tomatoes instead.

I used trusty Marigold Swiss vegetable buillon for the veg stock and followed the amount stated even though it looked like an alarming amount of liquid. It wasn’t. It cooked perfectly in just over 20 minutes.

As I was making this for the whole family, I omitted the chillis and I’m glad I did. It was still super-tasty but both kids said they wouldn’t have wanted it any hotter.

I adore lime so I doubled up on this, cutting a whole lime into wedges and giving everyone a piece to squeeze their own.

The rice goes all deliciously smooth and silky (from the fat in the chorizo, I assume) and the smokiness of chorizo and paprika cut with lime juice is sublime.

We all loved it – even my son. Towards the end of his bowlful he was mainly just picking out the chorizo, but I’m okay with that. I’m all about celebrating the small successes this week.