Archive for May, 2015

Just Write it Down

So Many Notes

So there I am, driving along minding my own business, when all of a sudden a story pops into my head.  Boom.  Vivid plot, several characters, it’s like it’s writing itself.  And then reality sets in.

I don’t have time for this.

Isn’t that just how it goes?  Working a full time j-o-b takes up the majority of my day.  Add in the commute, cooking supper, and cleaning up after, and there’s not much left before it’s time for my head to hit the pillow.  Ugh, I live for the weekends.

But what about those ideas that pop up at the most inopportune times?  Surely I can’t be the only one who has random behind-the-wheel break-throughs or brilliant story outlines coming to me in the shower.  So what’s a girl to do?

Write them down, of course.

Even though there’s a 50,000-word document in my computer that beckons to me for revision, I can’t help myself.  I think of all the times I’ve struggled; plagued with writer’s block while staring at a computer screen.  And who knows, maybe that could be the starting point for a whole book or a sideline in a different story.  However, if I don’t write it down, it will become neither for sure.

It’s times like these that I’m grateful for the composition book that’s always with me.  Okay, almost always with me.  But if I didn’t have it, I’d make a note in my phone, on a napkin, on my hand, whatever.  The point is, it needs to find its way to being remembered.

You can’t trust your memory to keep track of stuff like this.  I mean, seriously, how many times do I have to walk into a room and wonder why I went in there?  No, I’m not that old.  Yes I always have a swirling tornado of ideas whirling about in my brain.

It’s a blessing and a curse.

I’m not going to tell you what my last story idea was.  It may make its way into a sequel of the aforementioned first draft, a good red herring maybe.  Or perhaps it will be a whole story idea on its own, running behind the main plot just to keep the readers entertained.  We’ll see.  But I know it’ll make its way into something.

Because I wrote it down.

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Just Be…Quietly

Fritz

I’ve noticed lately that I am spending more and more time in silence.  Not complete silence (there may be the sound of tapping on a keyboard, a snoring Schnauzer, or footsteps) but free of added noise.  I never used to be able to stand that; I felt like I needed the constant stimulation of sound, either TV or music, at all times.  Maybe it’s my advancing age, but I’m getting in touch with my inner…me!

First thing in the morning I walk Fritz, our dog.  In the past it rather irritated me and I found myself frustrated at his dilly dallying.  Why does he need to sniff and then water every tree, shrub, or stick on the ground?  I still don’t have an answer, other than, “Because he can”.  But what has changed is my attitude about our ritual.  What once was a source of exasperation has now become a time of inspiration.  Some of my best ideas have come to me during these little journeys, not to mention termination of unfortunate bouts with writer’s block.  I’m pretty certain that if I had been tuned into something streaming in my ear, my mind would not have had the chance to take in my surroundings and be free to wander.  Yes, I’m right brained, it wanders…a lot!  For this I am truly thankful.

In our electronic-heavy culture today, many people do not take that time to unplug and just quietly contemplate.  In fact, if you saw someone sitting with no electronics on/in front of them, you may wonder if something was wrong with them!  But would you imagine they were just taking the time to think?  I have even gotten used to running without headphones most days.  That time of solitude is for me to think; about something, about nothing, just to listen to the sound of my footsteps.  It is the perfect mental balance to my physical action, the yin to the yang if you will.

Rollo May, an American existential psychologist, said, “In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone.”  This is the person who has to talk all the time or keeps the TV/music on because they can’t stand quiet.  Here are some ways to unplug and free your mind:

  • Have a dedicated time every day for at least a few minutes of quiet.
  • Vary your quiet time activities—sit, walk/run, even cooking or a hand craft that requires no deep concentration will work.
  • Get the whole house involved.  This is a great way to teach children independent thinking and problem solving.  Make it clear that they don’t have to sleep during this time, just do something quietly with no TV, music, or computer involvement.
  • If you still don’t really know what to do, sit in your most comfortable chair or lie in your bed.  Close your eyes and listen to the sound of your breath for one minute.  Your mind will wander!

It doesn’t matter if you have no desire to be “creative”.  Giving your brain a chance to enjoy downtime leads to better thinking and decision-making.  It will also improve your interactions with others.  If you don’t believe me, just ask Fritz.  Our walks are much less stressful now.

To My Children on Mother’s Day

It’s Walleye fishing opener and Mother’s Day weekend… I confess, this is a post from a previous year. Happy Mother’s Day to my mom and daughter, and to all the moms out there. Now let’s go fishing!

Fresh Air Musings

Boys Will Be Boys

I think there comes a time in most people’s lives where they start to reflect back.  This past week was the anniversary of a horrible car vs. dump truck accident that almost took my life.  On that anniversary I paused for a while to look back at both the years before the accident, and the 21 years since.   I came up with some parenting things I’d like to pass on to my kids, my gift to them as we celebrate Mother’s Day.

  • Treasure the day-to-day. I know when they were small I sometimes found myself wishing they would hurry up and grow up. It gets stressful being a parent. But take the time to enjoy the daily routines like chatty little ones at breakfast or evening baths and stories at bedtime. They really are only little for so long.
  • No matter how stressful things are, it gets better. It is…

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