Friday 17 October 2014

Candles and the creative process

By Narelle Atkins

I’ve recently discovered the benefits for my creative process from burning scented candles. I often use music to get myself into the right mood for a particular scene. I also have a knack for writing books while living in the opposite season to my story.

I wrote the majority of my sixth book, Seaside Proposal, during the middle of a chilly Canberra winter. I did escape the cold for a week in July at the RWA Conference in San Antonio. But, five nights in Texan summer heat and humidity didn’t give me the sense of an evening cool summer breeze off the ocean.

I bought a candle called Seabreeze and olive, and it smells like the ocean. I can close my eyes and imagine the warm beach is nearby.

I had a pink candle scented with apple blossom. A floral scent that reminded me of my fictitious town of Snowgum Creek surrounded by apple orchards. 

I have an amber wood and vanilla candle that has a rustic scent and reminds me of the open spaces in the country.

My ceramic soccer ball electronic burner is versatile and I can use different scented melts in the pot. My current favourite is a tangerine combination. A happy, uplifting scent that puts a smile on my face.

Do you use scents to evoke mood and atmosphere? Have you used scents and candles in combination with your writing? I’d love to hear our thoughts and experiences.

NARELLE ATKINS writes contemporary inspirational romance and lives in Canberra, Australia. She sold her debut novel, set in Australia, to Harlequin's Love Inspired Heartsong Presents line in a 6-book contract. Her debut book, Falling for the Farmer, was a February 2014 release, followed by The Nurse's Perfect Match in May 2014, The Doctor's Return in August 2014, Her Tycoon Hero in November 2014, Winning Over the Heiress in February 2015, and Seaside Proposal in May 2015.

Narelle blogs regularly with International Christian fiction Writers and Inspy Romance. 

She is also a co-founder of the Australian Christian Readers Blog Alliance (ACRBA). 

Twitter: @NarelleAtkins


  1. I love candles, Narelle, and often have one burning on my desk here in my study. The one I have here right now is a freesia one given to me by my lovely mentor. It is made from natural soy wax and has the brand 'Serenity' on it. Sounds good for those editing times, which is what I am doing right now! But I also love them because just seeing that lit flame reminds me of the presence of God as I write, which I find so important..

    1. Hi Jo-Anne, your freesia candle sounds lovely :) I hope your editing is going well.

  2. I've never thought of doing this! That's a great idea Narelle. Our sense of smell is a powerful tool for memory so could be employed to remember an area we have been to for research as well as for simply 'getting in the mood' as you suggest.

    1. Hi Cat, I agree, the memory recall aspect is helpful and powerful. I've also found the scents calm down my children, which makes for a more serene home environment :)

  3. Hi Narelle,
    I love them all, whether they are floral or food scented. They are great at evoking the moods of scenes we are working on. Thanks for the reminder that indulging in candles may help us work.

  4. Hi Paula, I like the food scented ones as long as they don't make me feel hungry, lol. Unless I'm really in the zone, I can easily get distracted by food cravings :)


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