Jump-Start Your Creativity With the "Creative Hour"

"Where do you find the time to write a novel?" 

I often get asked this question, from family, friends, and even strangers. The simple answer is that I make the time to write. With a day job, husband, and two young kids, I'm like most of the parents I know: making time for passion projects is extremely difficult. It took me a whole year to develop a daily practice of what writers call, "butt in chair." But it is possible. If you've ever wanted to start a passion project of your own, I recommend jump-starting your creativity with the "creative hour."

Jump-Start Your Creativity With The "Creative Hour" | Dany Chan

Jump-Start Your Creativity With the "Creative Hour"

What is the "creative hour"?

The "creative hour" is simply the one hour every day that you've committed to being present for your passion project. For me, it meant sitting at my desk every night at 9pm to write. After we put the kids to bed, wash the dishes, pack lunches, and prepare for the next day's dinner, I put my butt in the chair and be available for the writing muse for the next hour.

Why one hour?

Well, like most people, it takes me about 20 minutes to switch tasks, to really get into the flow of writing creatively. So, if I commit to one hour of butt-in-chair time, then I can hope for about 40 minutes of producing new words. At the end of the hour, I am free to stop or keep going, depending on how I feel.

This idea of the "creative hour" is very similar to the "genius hour" concept being applied in the classrooms. Students are given one hour during the school day to explore their passions and creativity. Genius idea!

But don't let the kids have all the fun!

I encourage you to try it. Commit one hour every day to being present for your passions. It will be really  hard at the beginning. Remember, it took me a whole year to develop a daily writing habit. So, cut yourself some slack, believe in the process, and enjoy the time you will have with your creative self.


Let's chat!

What passion project have you been dying to start?

Will you be giving the "creative hour" a try? If not, why?


3 Best Fictional Friendships of All Time

In my novels, I love to feature the theme of friendship. Though fictional, my characters help me explore how friendships develop and their impact on people's lives. Over the years, I've encountered some great fictional friendships in books, movies, and TV shows. And they undoubtedly serve as models for the friendships that I create in my stories and also for the friendships that I nurture in real life. Below are my picks for the 3 best fictional friendships of all time.

3 Best Fictional Friendships of All Time | Dany Chan

3 Best Fictional Friendships of All Time

Frodo and Sam and the Fellowship (Lord of the Rings)

The friendship between the two hobbits, in particular, is the the most aspirational on my list. Why? Because the trials they went through together to secure their bond - journeying into Mordor to cast the One Ring into the fires of Mount Doom - are simply unrealistic for us mere humans. Yet, friends in real life do support each other through life's catastrophes, such as illness, divorce, or unemployment. And when they come through such trials, their friendship will either be stronger or will have collapsed under the weight of such hardship.

Frodo and Sam represent the former. They began the terrible journey armed only with hope and survived it, because even at their darkest hour, when Frodo seemed ready to give up and cast himself into the fires, Sam's love pulled him up, literally and figuratively. There are several moments throughout the movie where we get reaffirmations of their friendship, but my favorite moment occurred during the Fellowship's reunion (view the clip below). Amidst the raucous of Frodo's reunion with the other members of the Fellowship, the quiet understanding between him and Sam packs the emotional punch.

Holmes and Watson (Sherlock)

I admit it: I'm a Cumberb*tch, a woman who has a deep fascination with the actor Benedict Cumberbatch (definition via Urban Dictionary). The actor's portrayal of the iconic Sherlock Holmes as a brilliant, social miscreant appeals to me, much like Hugh Laurie's Dr. House.

Photo via  ScreenerTV

Photo via ScreenerTV

Holmes and Watson have an unlikely friendship, seemingly full of contrasts: Holmes is anti-social, Watson personable; Holmes cerebral, Watson earthbound. Yet, they complement each other so that, together, they make a strong team. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, as they say. What is most appealing to me about their friendship is the impact they have on each other. In finding a friend in the other, Watson begins to heal from his psychological war-scars and Holmes discovers a reason to continue living.

Monica, Ross, Chandler, Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe (F.R.I.E.N.D.S.)

Ah, F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

After 10+ years together, I think I know more about Monica, Ross, Chandler, Rachel, Joey, and Phoebe than I do my own husband (shh, don't tell him that).

These 6 fictional friends are important to me because they actually helped me through the tumultuous years of early adulthood. In my 20s, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. became my surrogate friends. Back then, I often felt lost, which fed into my depression. And although I had strong friendships in real life, my depression was such that I could not allow my friends to try to help me through it. Oddly, I turned to fictional characters such as these 6 for solace. Their comedic storylines and over-the-top personalities was just far-enough removed from reality that I could enjoy them from a safe distance. And during my lowest moments, when I felt the most alone, the characters' decade-long friendship offered me hope that one day I may find such friendships of my own.

Plus, they always brought on the laughs when I needed a good laugh :-)


Let's chat!

What do you think of my 3 picks?

Which fictional friendship is on your all-time favorite list?


Where Do Your Ideas Come From? (+ Freebie)

I am in the middle of revising my novel, The Forgotten Fathers Club (FFC), and boy is it an experience! It's been arduous, tedious, exciting, and challenging. I've written the first drafts of two novels, but I have yet to complete a revision, so this process is all new to me. Thanks for following along  :-)

I also have an exciting update for you at the end of this post!

But first, allow me to tell you the story of how the idea for The Forgotten Fathers Club came about.

Where Do Your Ideas Come From? | Dany Chan

Where Do Your Ideas Come From?

In 2014, my family and I visited Denver, and while driving to drop off the rental car, we chatted about the book Wicked* and the movie Maleficent,* both of which we have read and seen, respectively.

And I remember saying something like, "They should make a movie about the fathers of these fairy tales. You never see them again after the first scene." And then, "That would be a cool story idea: The Fairy-tale Fathers Club." 

Well, I wrote down the story idea in my notebook, and four years later, I'm revising it. The moral of this story is: always carry a notebook.*


Now, for that exciting update I mentioned at the beginning of the post. I have for you 3 brand-spankin' new chapters (1-3) of The Forgotten Fathers Club. Just sign up for my newsletter below to download it!


Let's chat!

When and how does inspiration hit you?

Do you carry a notebook everywhere?

*Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. Thanks for your support.