Last week I mentioned the book, A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves, that really resonated with me at this point in time. I have read numerous books on the writing process, both with regards to writing fiction as well as non-fiction, and while I have several that are high on my recommendation list, the prompts listed in those books intimidate me. It is as though they almost stifle my writing rather than foster it. I think I need to try writing with training wheels before I start riding the “big bike.” This book by Judy Reeves has given me those training wheels.
- There really isn’t a “right” way to respond to a prompt. For some reason I have been programmed since childhood (and most likely toddler-hood) that if you are going to do something, you should do it right. Consequently my left-brained dominant mind has taken that generality in life and applied it to everything. I still hear the whisper of “I don’t think this is the right way to do it” – but I am trying to silence that voice during these writing sessions and just allow the pen to write from the spontaneous images that come to my mind.
- Being a writer requires that the author be an observer – and being an observer requires that the author slow down and pay attention to the present. This is tough for me as I have come to realize that I have held EFFICIENCY as the top priority in my life for several years. I have always admired those who accomplish more than seems humanly possible. Superwoman should exist, in my mind, and I have tried to emulate this fictional character for far too long. My daytimer has been my lifeline – allowing me to keep track of all these tasks so that they are accomplished on time (or even early so that I can move on to the next task). I look for ways to add more minutes to my day – not so that I can relax but so that I can do more. But oh….what have I missed in all this running around? And quite honestly, what have I accomplished at the expense of missing the little things in life? I need to learn to slow down – to enjoy the moment – to look closely at nature and meditate on the simple pleasures of life, which definitely do not include all those multi-tasks on my to-do list.
- If I allow myself to write long enough to follow the bunny trails of my subconscious mind, I can be surprised at the clarity it brings to life. I must confess that this does not happen each day, but there is a element of mental cleansing that does feel refreshing at the end of each session. Yesterday, however, I actually had an epiphany. The prompt was simply “Life’s Simple Pleasures” and I immediately started writing about reading, which led to shopping at bookstores. I wrote quite a while on this – detailing the different interests I have cultivated over the past two years while reading blogs and browsing the shelves. One of those interests included photography – which led to another simple pleasure in my life which is scrapbooking and card making. In this moment of writing I bemoaned the fact that not only do I not have enough time to engage in these activities – but I really have no reason to make a card – to whom would I send it? And then it dawned on me — my mother!!! I have experienced such guilt not calling her or visiting her as much as I think I “should” …. BUT….my mom LOVES mail – I mean, she lives for the noon hour when she can go to the mailbox. If there is anyone who would appreciate a card, it would be my mother. Why have I not thought of marrying these two activities before? I have no idea, but I am certain that I would not have developed this combination on my own; it was only through allowing the subconscious to guide the pen that led to this discovery.