It’s always a thrill for me to bring authors onto my blog who I read even before I had any thought of writing for children myself. Carmela LaVigna Coyle is one of those authors. Imagine my delight when out of the blue one day she not only signed up as a 12 x 12 participant, but also agreed to be a featured author!

We moved to Colorado in the Spring, my daughter having recently turned 2. In our new beautiful setting, I wanted to foster a love of the outdoors and physical activity with my daughter. Enter the book, DO PRINCESSES WEAR HIKING BOOTS? Happily, this book also coincided with the beginning of her “princess” stage. We must have read this book every day for a year, I kid you not. Then we followed up with the next book in the series, and the next…

I love these books because they are about regular girls – the ones we love day in and day out and who are the real princesses of the world. 

This post includes an extra treat that is a part of a balanced diet for any serious writer — chocolate!

Please welcome Carmela!

Do Princesses Putter?

There are unstated benefits to writing stories for very young children. Unpretentious, uncomplicated benefits that could easily be written, directed, and produced by a four-year-old. Tried and true. Like wearing pajama’s all day, even when you’re not sick, especially when you’re not sick. And naptime. And cookies at 4 o’clock with a cup of milk. Jumping jacks. And puttering around the house with, or without purpose.

Besides being one of the best jobs in the world, writing full time (or even part-time) for the two to six-year-old crowd can be exhilarating and exhausting, i.e. the PJ’s. On good days, ideas flood the plains of ordinary thinking. And we are poetically prolific. But if you’re like most writers, some days, those once robust waters recede, or worse, dry up. Comedian/Writer John Rodgers said “You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.” To which I reply, “Ha-ha-ha, you need to putter, mon!”

Puttering is underestimated. Putter. Putter. Putter. Puttering is the reason I have perfected drinking chocolate, (for which my family adores me.) One bleary March afternoon, I was stuck, really stuck on a rhyming couplet for my third Princess book, Do Princesses Scrape Their Knees? It had to involve chocolate, somehow. I was antsy and lethargic. My thoughts wandered to a very harmless cup of home-made cocoa (a-hum, theobromine) for inspiration. Certainly princesses drink cocoa. Eventually, the medium-dark brew spun to the deeper side of bittersweet. At last, after the addition of more unsweetened chocolate shavings, and more vanilla, I had one wicked (mooo-haha) cup of drinking chocolate. (See below for the recipe.)

When I perkily returned to my computer, I tamed that misbehaving couplet within minutes. Thank you chocolate, er… puttering. Some of my most honest writing has occurred after straightening a painting. Writers need permission to putter; clean a drawer, go for a walk in nature, read a chapter, do 10 sit-ups, yoga… PIN!Carmela - best-friends-350

Puttering is prolificness in disguise– as evidenced by the newly arranged living room or shelf of freshly alphabetized DVD’s. A recent article in The Atlantic claims that puttering around the “house can help reduce one’s risk of cognitive decline.” It mixes up the hour. From my experience, after a few minutes of puttering, I plop back down at my computer with a refreshed, sharper brain, “Now, where was I…ah, yes!” My family always recognizes the result of a good putter when they walk into the house to the scent of burnt broccoli. I often burn dinner when I’m writing my little heart out.

Children putter with purpose all the time. So can you, writer-of-young-children’s-stories. The lyrical cadence to follow may very well be your best yet. Although, we may need to convince ourselves of puttering, since we are wired for productivity. We set the standards for what is an acceptable quantity of work for a given day. We talk to our writer friends and compare ourselves to them. When we don’t meet their same level of fruitfulness, we often times feel as if we aren’t getting anywhere fast. This is when we simply must remind ourselves that writing cannot be measured in the number of pages (or sentences) written a day. It’s not a race. Really.

Be kind to yourself when the waters recede. Grant yourself permission to putter. Embrace it! Pull on your PJ’s. Have a cookie. It’ll all be okay… mon.

Carmela is married, the mother of two, a full-time writer and observer, innovative cook, collector, a bit introverted, expert putterer, party designer, art dabbler, planet helper, puppy dog affectionado, and fruit goddess, to name a few. She’s only the fruit goddess part because, “Carmela,” means goddess of fruit. And she does love fruit. You can find Carmela and all her books at: and her recently-launched Facebook Page.

Puttering Princess/Prince  Drinking Chocolate   
From the kitchen of Carmela LaVigna Coyle
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate (break into pieces)
1 cup whole milk
1  1/2 tablespoon maple syrup or raw sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of sea salt
Place milk and unsweetened chocolate shards in a small saucepan over very low heat. Whisk as chocolate slowly melts. Add maple syrup or raw sugar. Whisk in vanilla, salt. Whisk-whisk-whisk. Heat through, but do not boil.  Add a smidgeon more sugar, if needed. Pour into favorite mug. Now go back to desk, and write up a storm!
(Recipe easily halves, or doubles.  Can be made 100% organic. Add pinch of ground ancho chili or cinnamon for Latin flare.)



Categories: 12 x 12, 12 x 12 Featured Author, Authors, Children's Books, Creativity, Giveaway, Goals, Picture Books, Rhyming, Works in Progress, Writing · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,



  1. I will have to try the Puttering Princess Drinking Chocolate. My little Prince, who certainly likes to putter, would like it too. Thanks for sharing this advice. Breaks or puttering are good to refresh your thoughts.

  2. I definitely have trouble sometimes breathing out, letting myself putter. But I never have trouble ingesting chocolate. Thanks for the reminder that writing often needs more thinking time!

  3. Puttering is hard for me (blame it on my Type A personality), but it is oh so beneficial for the writing. If I can just remember that…We LOVED Do Princesses Really Kiss Frogs? I am not a Disney princess fan, so my daughter and I were both thrilled when we found your books.

  4. I too find puttering useful–but sometimes it lasts longer than the making and drinking of a cup of hot chocolate. I’m working on that. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I’m a great putterer! I have found that taking a break and puttering around in the garden helps me work out problems that I might be having with my manuscripy. There is something about working in the dirt that helps my brain get into gear again… a throwback to childhood, maybe?

  6. And no that is not a typo…manuscripy is what I call my “sloppy copy” or very rough draft. It doesn’t become a manuscript until it has been through one of my critique groups for the first time

  7. Thank you for sharing your post and recipe, Carmela! I think your goddess qualities extend far beyond fruit.

  8. I enjoyed this post, as chocolate fuels my writing as well!! Thanks for the reminder that puttering is good to our creative muse.

  9. Some of my best ideas come to me while I’m walking the dog.
    Thanks for the post and the recipe!

  10. Thanks for giving us permission to putter! (Though my puttering tends towards serious procrastination).

  11. Love this post. I’m definitely a putterer. Good thing you termed it because I just thought I was procrastinating Ha!.

    • Jennifer,

      Hah! I suppose it is all in the name, but for some reason the word “puttering” feels just a bit less stressful than the dreaded word “procrastination”. Or maybe I’m kidding myself. I have been known to do that.

  12. I’m the champion putterer. That’s where I get all my ideas. While puttering. Ha. Great post and SUPER recipe. Trying it on my gang. (They’re a tough audience) But I bet they will LOVE this one. Thanks so much, Carmela (what a beautiful name for a picture book character) and Julie. 🙂 I will be checking out your wonderful stories.

  13. Thank you for a wonderful post! I can’t wait to try out the drinking chocolate!

  14. Best advice EVER!!!! oooo and I can’t wait to try out the cocoa putter recipe 😀 Thank you VERY much Carmela.

  15. Love this post, Carmela. I putter–usually without purpose–a lot. It’s not always for writing, but it definitely helps clear the head. So glad I’m not the only one.

    Your books sound delightful.

  16. This Princess absolutely loves you for the permission to putter! Wonderful post! Put away, dear friend!

  17. Thank you so much for this post, and for permission to putter! (Ironically, I did not allow myself to read today’s author post until I had finished a proscribed amount of writing/work.)

  18. Power to the pajama wearing putterer within all of us! Great post to read between revising a manuscript and changing loads of laundry. Thanks, Carmela!

  19. I love your ideas and your writing style. I can’t wait to go find one of your princess books. I have three princesses and a prince at home that would love to see those, as well as try out the hot cocoa. I love to putter and often get great ideas from it….but usually feel guilty, so thanks for giving a shout out to puttering, which now gives me full permission to putter! =0)

  20. Thank you, Carmela, for permission to putter without purpose and to indulge in chocolate, all while still in pajamas. I look forward to reading your princess books! If they have the same playfullness as this post, they will be a real treat.

    • Anne,

      Glad to give you permission to putter! My princess books are all rhyming text, which interestingly, I never thought to be my strength. Surprises around every corner, huh. Hopefully you will like! :0)


  21. I love puttering. Next time I feel like puttering, it’ll be in the kitchen making that drinking chocolate. Yum!

  22. Thanks Carmela – puttering is such a great word to say as well. Done enough of that today – let’s hope it pays off – offline!

  23. I too agree with the value of puttering (and chocolate in any form). Sometimes I interrupt my writing routine with running or yoga, and I often find the switch can stimulate break throughs.

  24. Ah….you had me at chocolate–the darker the better. Puttering is like a vacation for the brain–switching the mental bike I’ve been furiously peddling to “coast”. I like to coast till the bike slows to a leisurely pace so I can ride hands-free while eating/drinking chocolate. Then, just before my metaphorical bike falls over, I crank it up and away I go for mental miles!

  25. I can be the queen of puttering. However, with social networking, writing challenges, critique groups, writing goals and so on, it can sometimes feel like a race. Thanks for the reminder! Putter . . . putter . . . putter. It looks like a full day in P.J.s is in order.

  26. In the midst of a post-long-work-day putter myself. As it’s too dark to wander with the dogs (when most of my best writing “aha” moments occur), I’m contenting myself to soup on the stove. And reading some great advice!

  27. Sometimes I come up with the best ideas when my mind wanders…doing the dishes…during commercials while watching my favourite show…before bed. After trying to get to fall asleep, I have often jumped out of bed and ran down the stairs to grab my sticky notes or notebook to jot down an idea.

  28. Hmm…I never knew puttering was so, uh, profound. Guess I will focus on this a little more in my spare time. Thanks for the inspiration.

  29. I totally agree with puttering. Sometimes we just need to step back for a little while to refresh ourselves and our ability to focus.

  30. Puttering is great…it is like kicking rocks, twirling hair, scratchin’ an itch, or counting stars. It’s like scratching between a puppy’s ears in your lap while looking out the window and humming a tune.
    Puttering is the best most soul opening thing you can do. Thanks for connecting it to our writing, Carmela. What a great post.

  31. I completely agree with you – puttering is a wonderful way to help you break through that writer’s block. And I would never turn down a reason to eat/drink chocolate! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  32. What a GREAT post! So true! 😀

  33. Puttering is a much nicer word than procrastination! Thanks for the permission to take a break, or two, or ten. And to top it off, I get to have chocolate, too! Best advice I’ve heard in a long time! Thanks so much.

  34. Hello Carmela!
    Thank you so very much! One of the best things about Julie’s 12×12 author spotlights is the kernel(s) of gold that each author shares with us. Looking through the other comments, it seems obvious that one sparkling gem from you is your advice to ‘putter’. I love how you say we are ‘wired for productivity’…YES…so that even interacting on social media channels becomes…not putter…but a race to be more productive. Thank you for sharing this part of your writing journey with us…as well as your lovely hot cocoa recipe. I’ll have a pinch of cinnamon in mine, if you please.:):)

    • Vivian,

      So many places to put our attention these days. I love facebook, blogging, pinterest, and beyond but it does feel a bit overwhelming at times. Keeping watch over our creativity is number 1… and I’m an advocate for doing whatever it takes to honor the flow. Glad you liked the post… and drinking choc recipe!


  35. It’s so fascinating that by resting the brain we can actually solve those creative problems that we’ve been fretting about. My best moment of our school vacation came sitting in the sun, looking out on a snowy landscape, having a cup of tea, and solving a Friday NY Times crossword puzzle. Thanks, Fruit Goddess, for reminding us of the necessity of slowing down.

  36. Carmela…I love your books. THANK YOU for permission to putter…and for the chocolate drink recipe.. if it weren’t midnight I.’d be in the kitchen trying it out.

  37. I love the idea of puttering with purpose! And thanks for the recipe.

  38. Thanks for the recipe will definitely be trying it out, and a reminder that writing is not a race.

  39. Oh man. That drinking chocolate is good for breakfast, right?!

  40. LOVED this post! Permission to putter!!! yay!!

  41. Thank you Carmela; this princess is off to putter!

  42. I’m a master putterer, though I don’t know I’m quite as productive as Carmela is. I thought it was just my ADD. 😉 And my goodness…I do love interviews that end with recipes! Thank you, Julie and Carmela!

  43. What a GREAAAT post! Thanks so much. I’m not familiar with your books so I’m getting down to the library this very afternoon. 🙂

    I appreciate that writing isn’t a race and we need, yes, need to putter to make it our best. I think that’s why so often that first fresh look after a few days fermenting on a manuscript makes it better. There’s been that right brain break. 🙂

  44. ummmm, thanks for that chocolate recipe. I think I’ll putter on over to the kitchen and make some now. 🙂

  45. Puttering with a purpose sounds positively productive. Plus, I love anyone who encourages mid-day pajama wearing. Also, I might be eating chocolate right now. Thanks for the recipe and helpful tips.

  46. It seems absolutely perfect that I should be reading this on a snow day amidst a profusion of puttering. Thank you so much for this post. It has validated all my puttering instincts today.

  47. Great advice, and I loved the comment about puttering being a better way to say it than procrastinating! Thanks!

  48. Ahhhh…putter, procrastinate…tomAYto, tomAHto, right? Carmela, you’re brilliant. I like to putter and walk. I have this quote on my fridge: “If you are seeking creative ideas, go out walking. Angels whisper to a man when he goes for a walk.” ~Raymond Inmon

    Also, I’m dying to try your drinking chocolate and read your books. Maybe together. My kids and I will have a chocolatey toast to you.

    Thanks for a wonderful post.
    Beth Thaler

  49. Melanie Ellsworth

    Perhaps I will now putter without guilt. I look forward to reading your princess series with my 3 1/2 year old! Sounds perfect. I’ll try out your drinking chocolate when the next puttering phase hits. And if you haven’t seen this, you’ve gotta try the recipe for 2-minute chocolate mug cake – amazing!

  50. Yay for permission to putter! Possibly too much puttering and not enough prose could be my problem . Great post and great recipe 🙂

  51. Advice taken! Puttering complete and cookie eaten. Well, actually it was two cookies and I am strongly considering the third. Darn you Di-So-Dos! Sigh! Thank you, though, for granting permission to putter. While puttering the mind goes on a journey which can be so helpful in resolving writing hurdles. I had not looked at it like that before. Great post. T.

  52. Great post! It’s so true. I get great ideas when I least expect it. And who can go wrong with pj’s and hot chocolate? I’m trying the recipe tomorrow!

  53. I totally agree that puttering is helpful. I find I do my best work when I am alternating between writing and other activities. Sometimes I’ll have a long spurt of writing without stopping, other times I’ll just write for a few minutes at a time. Thanks for making me realize I’m not the only one!

  54. When my 2 year old naps I love to settle down on the couch with my laptop and a mug of strong cocoa, (made with mostly unsweetened cocoa, which is healthy!). Giving myself a treat like that relaxes me into being productive, and that’s what your point is. I like that your suggestions (PJs, puttering, cocoa) all speak to the kids in us, which is perfect for what we do!

  55. Thanks for the post Carmela. I’m quite good at puttering but sometimes I find myself getting distracted by the puttering! So it was great to read your comment that ‘children putter with purpose’ – I’m definitely going to try and inject the purpose into my future moments of puttering! Can’t wait to try the yummy sounding recipe either – thank you 🙂

  56. Thanks for all your fun responses to my 12 X12 Author blog post on puttering. With or without purpose, seems like many of you are already champs. And I see we are in accord on a hearty hail to CHOCOLATE!

    As promised, I am posting another drinking chocolate recipe, a tad more child-friendly, unless you don’t mind your toddlers swinging from door to door or walking the ceiling. :0)

    For Young Prince/Princess Drinking Chocolate click here:

    Yours always in writing…

    • After reading this i felt like i puttered around all month, it was great. In all the puttering i was able to write an MS with some potential. Thanks a bunch!

  57. Sharalyn Edgeberg

    Yes, I was just thinking today, that I like to daydream as I was browsing through my baby pictures. I definitely like the word, putter. Yes, I was puttering around. I thank you for the permission to putter!!
    And yes, I will have to try your Puttering Princess/Prince Drinking Chocolate. Thanks so much for sharing & congratulations on your successful series of picture books.

  58. First let me say that anything that combines maple syrup and chocolate is a winner in my book. I am going to the market to get the unsweetened chocolate now. I, too, want to thank you for “permission to putter.” It seems I am perfecting puttering down to a science as I wander around my home, gaze out windows, walk the dog way longer than necessary and generally do everything but write the story that whirls chaotically around my head. You give me hope that soon it will settle and find its place, in its own time and in organized fashion. Thank you.

  59. That chocolate receipt sounds wonderful. I thought I would sneak back and post here as I was away overseas when this was posted and wasn’t able to get internet connection most of the time. Thank you for giving us permission to putter. Lovely post.

  60. My family are VERY used to the smell of burnt broccoli, so much so I have given up trying to cook it when I am writing or painting or puttering or ….. well you know how it is 🙂

  61. When it comes to anyhting chocolate, puttering is as easy as chocolate cake! Now to learn to putter more with my own writing and creative time. Love the post!

  62. Great post. Gives me renewed justification for my “garage time”, working on woodworking projects, away from the word processor… (And I occasionally add a dram of Bailey’s to my hot chocolate…)

  63. I was dying while reading your post. lol CRAVING that chocolate !! SO excited at the thought of it then realizing that I wasn’t the one drinking it. bummer. THEN seeing the recipe at the end. OMG. lol Best thing ever !!

  64. The recipe sounds absolutely yummy, Carmela! And I like your solutions to writer’s block. Sure does help to have young children around the house!

  65. Absolutely agree that puttering enhances a writer’s mind as well as getting much needed chores done! 🙂 I will definitely try the chocolate recipe!! Still a chilly spring here in Alabama. :-)))

  66. Thanks for your post, Carmela. My best ideas come while puttering – walking the dog, cleaning out the refrigerator, drying my hair . . . Also, my daughter and I love reading your book, Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots? It is a favorite at our house:)

  67. Victoria Warneck

    Thank you for this post, Carmela. I can be so hard on yield when I “waste” time. I appreciate the permission to take a break, futz about, and come back renewed!

  68. Victoria Warneck

    That was “hard on myself”. Sorry!

  69. Thanks for this valuable reminder, that puttering brings ideas (and a much needed break). For me it’s almost a meditation, and I have to remind myself of its purpose. It’s way to easy to get caught up in the day to day needs of “life”. Perfect timing…I think I’ll go putter now! 🙂

  70. A lovely post. Thanks for the shared hints and recipe.

  71. Love your name Carmela! my daughter’s name is Carmela too 🙂
    thank you for a WONDERFUL post and the chocolate receipe sounds delicious! will make it today for my daughters Carmela and Bella 🙂

  72. Permission to putter! Love that. Sometimes I putter and get off track…like here, for instance. I know I’ve read your post, but it looks as if I forgot to comment. Maybe your chocolate recipe will help me. :o)

  73. First of all, I LOVE Do Princesses Wear Hiking Boots. I read your book to my son so many times when he was younger I have lost count. And thank you for permission to putter! I have finally carved out time from my work schedule to write, and some of it is on my day off, Friday. I always feel guilty and unproductive when I’m doing anything other than writing. But those ideas need to brew like a good cup o’ chocolate. Get rid of the “If only I had more time…” blues, and embrace the “create on the go…” mindset. Thank you!

  74. Great post! And now I’ll be having some drinking chocolate for breakfast!! 🙂

  75. I love this! Thank you for the inspiring words. And thank you for the yummy recipe! I’ll be sharing this one. 🙂

  76. Thank you Carmela for reminding me of how much I enjoy walking in the park and how it has fueled my imagination. As spring returns I vow to get out more and putter.

  77. What a wonderful post! Thank you for the sweet words of inspiration and
    my daughter and I love your books!

  78. That’s it….I NEED to putter! I rarely give myself permission to have a break. The schedule is packed, and I try to stuff writing into every spare moment! My result will surely be even stronger if I give my mind a rest! Thanks!

  79. And here I thought my need to get up and putter was an attention deficit disorder! Thanks, Carmela–now I will see it as a postive brain refeshment. Love the recipe–I recently repaced the salt in my chocolate chip cookies with sea salt–it’s magic!

  80. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I find the best way to revive my weary writing brain is to take a few minutes and play with my cats. I guess you could say they are my muse. Have a wonderful day!

  81. Has anyone ever made an egg cream? That’s a drink any puttering princess would like

  82. I LOVE “Be kind to yourself when the waters recede.” Must take that advice. And puttering – perfect. Thanks so much for this post.

  83. I love the permission to putter. And thank you so much for the recipe!

  84. A good reminder that puttering CAN be helpful, that distraction is ok, and that making a cup of chocolate sometimes helps. And thanks for the recipe!

  85. Thanks for the reminder. We all need to take time out and come back refreshed. Great post!

  86. Putter…love the term. And I know it works. Whenever I am stuck on a piece, the worse thing is to get my stubborn on and stay put. Every time I putter in whatever way I choose, the answer comes. Thanks for your insights.

  87. It is often hard to write a sentence that makes sense with little kids around (can you tell?), but puttering is easy, and often far more productive!

  88. Thanks for the great post, Carmela! I totally agree about the puttering – the best way to keep “butt in chair” is to get your butt out of the chair for a quick break! The recipe sounds delicious, but I don’t eat chocolate 🙁 Do you think the recipe would work with white chocolate?

  89. Hello Carmela!
    Thanks for the great post…I think I putter too much (lol).
    Now I’m off to go make some of that hot chocolate and putter some more 🙂
    P.S. Everything tastes better with a shot of maple syrup 🙂

  90. chocolate, maple syrup and puttering, three of my favorite things 😉

  91. How did I miss this post? My daughter and I LOVE the “Do Princesses…” books. And puttering. 🙂 Thank you for writing about the importance of it — not only for writers, but for kids. A lot of blooming happens when you leave children to their own devises… 🙂

  92. Great post. I can relate in so many ways. First of all, I am drinking hot chocolate at this very moment and I can’t count how many times dinner has been burnt because, in the midst of stirring something on the stove, an idea comes and HAS to be written down! 😉

  93. Puttering, Princesses in hiking boots, and chocolate. You’re a girl after my own dreams! Thank you for the lovely post, and continued success! 😉

  94. Sometimes I find myself working on other stories if I’m stuck. Sometimes I play a round of Lumosity (brain games). Sometimes I just get up and play with the dogs. I’ve always called it ‘procrastinating.’ I really like ‘puttering’ much better! Thanks!

  95. I love chocolate milk, but I have always felt guilty about drinking it. Now, I don’t have to anymore. Thank you so much for giving me a license to drink! Doors shall surely open for me, now. : )

  96. I’ve put all your books on hold at the library and I am going to make that drinking chocolate the next time I’m stuck. Um, maybe even if I’m not stuck! Thank you for your insightful post and for the permission to putter. 🙂

  97. Going for walks even around my living room always helps.

  98. Thank you, Carmela — I love to putter! And I’m rather fond of chocolate, too. 🙂

  99. Thank you for sharing this work! I am a HUGE fan of real princesses – ones who do more than faint and feign. Ones in hiking boots are all the better.

  100. apparently didn’t post when i first read this . . . thanks for a great post and a reassurance that puttering is a good thing. my puttering is typically a walk with my dog, especially when it’s dark and the streets are quiet. grateful for my iphone and voice messaging!

  101. Seriously? I didn’t comment when I first read this post? Must have been because I hopped off to the kitchen to check my stash of hot chocolate ingredients. Thanks for the recipe.

    Puttering sure does work for me, especially if I’m doing something that makes my hands wet (cleaning the bathroom) or dirty (weeding the garden) or full (hauling groceries from the car) and I can’t quickly grab a pen to jot things down. 🙂 Wouldn’t a voice-activated pocket recorder come in handy?

  102. Puttering is what I do best.

  103. Like you, I love the outdoors and exploring our National Parks.

  104. Penny Klostermann

    Thanks for the post. Puttering is a necessity for me! If I don’t allow puttering, I get stuck…no ideas…no creativity. Just call me Penny the Putterer 🙂

  105. I have worked from a home-based office for more than 15 years, and I wholeheartedly agree that puttering gets our ideas flowing more than we (and others) give it credit. It’s a skill we should certainly value — and celebrate when we have both folded laundry and a new story idea we can’t wait to get back to.

  106. Am off to putter. thanks for another great post

  107. My girls will love your princess book. 🙂 Thanks for the post. 🙂 I need to putter too.
    ~Becky Fyfe

  108. Thank you for validating that puttering is beneficial. I often get up at work and take a walk around the first floor of the building. It gets my blood flowing and my brain zoning out just a bit as I stroll. I always come back 5 minutes later refreshed. But no one else does this, which leaves my wondering, “Am I weird?” Nope… not at all. I know how to putter!

  109. LOL puttering is so alien to my nature (up to this point) that I smiled upon reading the title and thought “how sweet – a book to encourage young girls to play golf:)) (which of course is also alien to my nature ;))

    So I started immediately browbeating myself for not puttering! Then, as I read further into the article I realized that I putter in many ways: allowing myself a 4 jelly-belly bean break; getting up to feed the numerous animals a snack; glancing in the fridge to see what miracles I can find to make for dinner, and taking Princess Abi (the black great dane who is the superstar of my writing) for a short walk in the yard.

    “I adore the concept of your books,” she putteringly comments, as she returns to working on ‘Abi says: The Easter Bunny Is Missing.’

    Have a blessed holiday

  110. I am an avid putterer! I love your line “children putter with purpose.” I completely agree! Maybe I can get some more purpose in my puttering!

  111. Lovely post and even better recipe! Now I’m off to do a little puttering…

    Donna L Martin

  112. I’m laughing. I now have a name for what I was thinking was my irksome “all-of-a-sudden-I-need-to-clean-the-windows” syndrome while writing.Thank you for allowing my ‘step-away” moment to be ok. 🙂

  113. Thank you for making my puttering guilt free! I often find myself distractedly wandering away from my computer, instead of being cranky at myself I shall now reassure myself that I am puttering for the greater good 🙂

  114. Thanks for giving us permission to stress less! Happy Easter to you and your Princess.

  115. Puttering as always proved to be the perfect outlet for me!
    Glad to hear I’m not alone 😀

  116. Thanks for your wonderful post! I used to push myself to be extremely productive…it took me a while to realize that stepping away from a project, and sometimes doing something that doesn’t involve writing can give me a fresh perspective and some wonderful ‘aha’ moments. I wish I read something like this back then, and have a feeling it will help many writers take a much needed guilt-free break or two.

  117. I also love the “benefits” part of writing (in my pj’s now). Will definitely add the hot chocolate to my regimen.
    Thank you for your suggestions on puttering. I agree that puttering will help free up your brain so that you can play with words and create a better story!

  118. Great reminder. Thank you for the thoughtful post.

  119. I’m a confirmed putterer and hot-chocolate drinker. Both have done wonders for my writing! Sometimes it’s best to just step away from the desk…

  120. I think this is a great reminder for those of us who have every minute scheduled. Maybe I can schedule some puttering into my day?

  121. The next time I find myself sitting and staring at the wall I will remind myself to putter. Such an invaluable activity. Of course, PJ’s are essential! As well as hot chocolate!

  122. Interesting post. Well thought out.

  123. Ahhh, chocolate – food of the Gods. Thanks for giving our daughters and grandaughters an alternative to Disney princess thoughts.

  124. So true about puttering!! It really does help. Thanks for the fun inspiration. 🙂

  125. And if you refuse to putter, then eventually you’ll be forced to – via sickness. I’ve puttered my way to the bed all weekend long. Maybe chocolate heals sickness, too?

  126. Fun post! Puttering is a lifestyle with me. Glad to hear I am not alone. 🙂

  127. Thanks for the post and the recipe. Very yummy!

  128. Thanks for the great post! I too putter when I am blocked…I’ll have to try the chocolate recipe next time!

  129. What creative ways of thinking of princesses! Thank you for the wonderul post.

  130. Puttering with a purpose, I love it!Thank you for this fab post! By the number of agreeing comment posts, I would appear I am not alone!!

  131. I’m looking forward to a week of puttering when I’m on spring break from work. Puttering around a chocolate shop, perhaps. 🙂 Glad to know I’m not the only one who lets ideas simmer and then when it’s ready, let it pour out onto the page.

  132. Stephanie Skiba-Fitzpatrick

    “You can’t think yourself out of a writing block; you have to write yourself out of a thinking block.” – I had to do this earlier in the week. I received some valuable feedback during a consulting session with Simone Kaplan and then struggled with putting my thoughts into words. It took me sitting at the computer, thinking for hours, before I got up, puttered around and then just decided to write, write, write until the words started to make sense. A combination of puttering and writing got my mind back on track and out of that rock-solid thinking block!

  133. Kathleen Cornell Berman

    “Puttering is underestimated.” Love this line. You are so right. And rewarding ourselves with a cup of hot
    chocolate is the best. Although I substitute the sugar with mini marshmallows on top. Not the healthiest, but so good. Thanks for the great post.

  134. Yep! I call it “filling the well.” Just taking your mind off something for a minute is sure to help.

  135. Great post – I don’t know if I putter, but I certainly potter a lot.

  136. My almost 4yo is a big fan of the Princess series too. I like the blend of traditional and perhaps-not-so-traditional princess ideals 🙂

  137. I skimmed past the recipe. I’m on a diet. Actually, I’m probably off cookies permanently. You are right about puttering, though. Creativity requires downtime : ). Thanks for the post.

  138. Oops–can’t change my post, but I’ll revise it here. The recipe is for chocolate milk. Can’t do that either. (winks)

  139. Oh for that sweet spot that is (eventually) productive puttering rather than any excuse to procrastinate…

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