Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Quiet Your Mind

 I have been hearing of and reading about many who are struggling to write and create in light of all we face in the current state of the world these days.

Initially, I was doing well carving out more time to write and even completing new rough drafts, albeit "shi**y" first drafts. And then it was like...poof! My mind started spiraling and sputtering. I still wrote in fits and spurts but never felt very creative or productive. 

Recently, I've been making headway again and working more with a better mental frame of mind. This morning, I sat to read a chapter and opened my book to this...

"Shut Off the Information."

 

In SIMPLE ACTS OF MOVING FORWARD:  60 SUGGESTIONS FOR GETTING UNSTUCK, Vinita Hampton Wright says, "You receive more information in a day than your great-grandmother received in a month...if you watch television news, listen to the radio, read newspapers and magazines, and surf the internet, then you are constantly absorbing much more information than you have the ability to deal with."

Wow! What a catch-22 this is. As writers, we often look to places like newspapers to get story ideas. We need the internet for creating our platform and marketing ourselves and our work. But, the flip side, in today's world especially, is the overwhelming sense of concern, fear and frustration with many happenings, and this can be stifling.

Wright suggests we, "Take a break from information," because, "After a point it is no longer information, but merely more noise in your head." So. Very. True!

Ultimately, it goes back to the ever elusive balance in writing as well as in life. Manage your time; manage your balance and give yourself some grace.

"Your mind and soul need breathing space. They can't always be solving problems or forming opinions."

Seems terrific advice in this over-stimulated, always on the go, ever more chaotic world in which we live.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Rejuvenation

Wishing you a splendid and prolific writing week. I will be lounging on the shores of a lake in Northern MN relaxing and listening to the loons--my happy place!
It is amazing what a week of fun in the sun with family can do to help one rest, rejuvenate and recharge as well as inspire the creative soul. Years ago, I had an article published in Nostalgia Magazine entitled "Minnesota Memories" about my time at this lake as a child. It has been amazing to return with my own kids and sister's family each summer to carry on the tradition.

I hope you are having a wonderful and healthy summer!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Finding Inspiration

So, this morning I knew I wanted to write a blog post as it has been some time but wasn't sure what I wanted to write about as my brain appears a bit stagnant at this point. I started looking for inspiration in quotes which is what I often do and found the following.
For me, the struggle is real. It has been recently anyway. I've been working on edits of current WIPs, but my overall creativity and idea generating for new work has been minimal. Life has been chaotic with many aspects of life as is the case for all in the face of the COVID-19 Pandemic but such is life. One must forge on, butt in chair, so to speak. And I am trying...some days better than others.

As I read through quotes, another caught my eye...
Yes! Why not think of it this simply? Just sit down and think...and write while thinking. That, I can do! Sometimes I know I over-think things and make it more difficult than it is actually.  Small steps and one thing at a time are important which leads to my final quote for today...
Break things down to small, achievable chunks and build from there. This is true in all facets of life, but especially so in writing. Thus, this is going to be my new mindset.

How about you? What are you experiencing and what works for you currently?


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy Independence Day


As we celebrate perhaps the most American of holidays while continuing to forge through these dark and difficult times, let us try to remember those who fight for peace and freedom for all in this great land. While the equality written about in the Declaration of Independence which led to this holiday is obviously far from achieved, I pray we can find a way to bring peace to America, sooner rather than later. We must treat others the way we want to be treated ourselves in an effort to honor the great sacrifice of those who provide us with "the land of the free because of the brave."

Wishing you all a very healthy and happy 4th of July. God Bless and be well.



Friday, June 12, 2020

Daydream Believer

The word "create" is defined by Webster's Collegiate Dictionary as, "to bring into existence...to produce or bring about by a course of action or behavior...to produce through imaginative skill."

I've been thinking of this word a lot recently in my efforts to be more productive with, and conscientious of, my time. It seems, however, more often than not, I find my brain here...
Between the COVID-19 Pandemic and the state of the world right now, my brain seems to be continually whirring while bouncing around various daydreams wreaking havoc on consistent productivity. At least, I felt that way until I read the following.

In another chapter of SIMPLE ACTS OF MOVING FORWARD (appropriately titled Daydream), Vinita Hampton Wright says, "Daydreams are little exercises, that's all." I love this! What a wonderful concept to be able to feel I am "working" while daydreaming. Clearly this is a productive thought process as a writer; however, I typically think of daydreaming more as "pre-work" than "work," per se. While my rationale mind knows this daydreaming is a necessary part of the writing process, I often feel like I am wasting time when sitting somewhere staring off into never-never land.

Wright goes on to say, "Give in to your mind's tendency to escape. It wants to escape for a reason. You're piling up too much pressure somewhere. Or maybe you're simply tired."

I am going to interpret this to mean I need to embrace my daydreaming self and cultivate my imagination in hopes of creating something from the myriad of ideas floating about my brain. Lord knows there has been enough pressure and tiredness for everyone these last few months. It is ongoing and will be so for some time to come. Give yourself a little escape and join me in the clouds for a bit.

Wishing you all continued health and beautiful daydreams.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Happy Memorial Day

On this day, we remember and honor those who have served and given the ultimate sacrifice as well as their families. Thank you, and God Bless America!  A special shout out to my father-in-law who gave so much. We miss you, and we love you!


Monday, May 11, 2020

Be Okay With Relinquishing Control

Relinquishing control. I've been accused of not being able to do so very well. Is it more about feeling I have to do X, Y and Z or is it more about relinquishing control and being okay with something not being done "my way?" It is debatable.

This has been a life long struggle but particularly so during this period of the COVID-19 Pandemic with a jam-packed house full of people working and schooling from home without a functional basement. One of the positive things to come of this period of necessary quiet and being home-bound (and while there are a great many negatives, there are also some positives of quarantining with family) is the need to just be okay with letting some things go--the importance of which then diminishes greatly and guess what? It is okay!

It is okay to relinquish control and let a child help clean the house; it is okay to let the kids help make dinner (if they are old enough, of course). It is okay to not complete all the items on your TTD list for the day--or any of them at all, for that matter.

Life happenings right now have served to alter the definition of what is important in the world and, in turn, what is not as important despite what we thought previously. This can be applied to one's writing life, work life or overall way of life in general.

While relinquishing control (as much in what I feel I need to accomplish in any given day as much as my perception of how I think something should be completed by others, i.e. my kids or husband) is very difficult for me. I am learning and giving new meaning to the phrases, "such is life" and "this too shall pass." And you know what, I am more at peace on a day-to-day basis.

And then today, I read a chapter in SIMPLE ACTS OF MOVING FORWARD for the first time in a long while, and it was the perfect chapter to give voice to all I've been feeling. The title of the chapter was Choose Not to Care.  In it, Wright said, "Sometimes you have to give yourself permission to just not care so much about how something will turn out."

Clearly one has to care about many things in life, at least to some degree, and I am not suggesting otherwise; however, I do agree that, "If you care deeply about everything, you'll never be able to rest."

How many of us push and push to complete just one more task, finish just one more chapter, do just one more thing, etc. But will it really matter tomorrow? Some, yes. And that is what one must do. But, the nos...let them go. Spend those moments with your spouse or kids, reading a book or watching a movie, or just sitting quietly enjoying the calm and quiet for a few minutes. Take in the scenery, the sights, the sounds and smells and get back to appreciating life and all it entails, the good and the not so great. Be thankful and find the joy, even in the little things for, sometimes, the little things are all we can find.

Wright goes on to say, "The truth is, it's up to you to prioritize all the jobs and tasks in your life. You can decide what is most important, what is next in importance, what you can take or leave, and what has nothing to do with you."

The words that really are important here are, "it's up to you." It is, isn't it? Or it certainly should be. Decide what is important to you and for you and let the rest go. The world won't stop turning, the day won't end. It. Will. Be. Okay! Take care of yourself or you won't be able to be there for your family, friends, work or whomever and whatever your life holds that is important to you.

Take care and be well!