Archives for posts with tag: writing

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I have failed. I bought a paper planner calendar.

A few years ago, I jumped on the electronic bandwagon and ditched my Franklin Planner vowing to go paperless for my appointments. I got a sense of freedom knowing that my trusty smart phone would tell me where I need to be and when. It does that. I can write notes and keep my life organized in the cloud.

But I can’t plan there. I need a pen and paper. I need to draw. Make squiggly lines. Create lists.

Maybe there is something hard-coded in my brain about the tactile feeling of a writing instrument in my hand and thought generation. I always feel more creative with a pen or pencil in my hand. Even rolling a pen in the palm of my hand helps me problem solve.

I am not a Luddite. I have used project planning tools, idea generating software and mind mapping. I am a big Evernote fan. I have nested in the Google family of integrated products. So, why can’t I think there?

What is it about paper and a pen? Is my tactile need so embedded in my brain that I cannot lure my thoughts out unless my hand is firmly gripping a pen? Am I squeezing mental material from the pencil’s lead?

What I do know is that I haven’t enabled creative neural connections with digital planning. My (mental) connections to pen and paper are burned into my grey matter spanning a fifty plus year time frame. And, with that I am willing to concede defeat and stop forcing a unrewarding pattern on my creative juices.

I will embrace my pen. Pat my paper. And create.

 

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Even though it’s only 58 degrees F, I ran around the house this morning and opened the windows. Open windows mean I can hear birds, leaves rustle,and the general noises of the city. It’s comforting. It’s a connection.

Never a fan of air conditioning (although I will admit that in certain parts of the world it is necessary), I have spent decades in climate controlled environments. Insulated from the world outside. Kept mildly chilled. Like a wine cellar.

All the internal distractions were human/machine generated. Interruptions by co-workers, whirring of copier machines, clicking of keyboards in use, phones ringing, people speaking loudly. But when you work alone, the solitary work of writing, where is your controlled environment?

The writer’s office is a portable venue. The hum of humanity at a coffee shop fills the void with the activity of a faux connection with people. Writing outside has a serenade of creatures in the trees, insects in the grass, the sounds of life.

Maybe the dead silence of nothing is unnerving to the creative process. That distractions actually spur the creative thought process.

I wonder what did Michelangelo’s studio sound like? Was it the sound of chipping stone that created a brilliant backdrop? Did Edison have a constant boiling beaker for a muse? Did the scratch of chalk on a blackboard enlighten Einstein?

What do I need to hear to channel a character’s dialog?

At present, I hear the chirps of a chickadee and the caws of crows. Little else. No other background noise. Will the words erupt?

Where do you do your best writing? What’s your best environment for thought creation?

Autumn Day

Remember that old song from the sixtiesSee  You in September“? Back then, it was about returning to the school year and reconnecting with friends, classmates, boyfriends or girlfriends after a summer hiatus. It was a circle of completion. After a summer “off”, it was time to hit the books, study, and make grades.

In my reflection of those years, there was a certain predictability to the circadian rhythm of life. Now, I am troubled by September. It really signifies a time when I am reaching what poets call the “autumn” of my life. There are a lot of unknown variables. Will I continue to produce services of value, connect with my clients, and be resourceful enough to move into areas not yet explored? I think about my health and how to preserve it. Do I have the stamina to continue being involved with activities that make me happy? I didn’t think I’d have these thoughts creep up on a stunning September day but here they are, nagging me.

Autumn was always a great kickoff time. Learn something new. Get into the grind of work at school. It was exciting and created a focus. There was always winter school break to look forward to. In this moment, I feel as if time has stopped to allow me to assess where I am going, what will I do, who shall I be. It’s the WHO one that’s the kicker. I never thought of myself as an “old” person.

I have been a friend, a wife, a mother, a business woman, a volunteer, a champion and now I have a new person to develop – a writer. That’s not new news to me but it may be to others. I have written technical documents, project plans and reviews. But this time, it’s personal. It’s me writing about my view, my experience and my life. And, there’s something clawing at my confidence.

Good writers share an experience. It’s the sharing that breathes life into the words. True, it has to be written in a way that will grab attention, but I think about all the ordinary experiences in life that seem to take on an ethereal glow or grow larger in importance in the hands of a capable wordsmith. The experience can be something so mundane it eludes awareness or so great it commands attention. I think of Emily Dickinson and her poem about a fly for the insignificant, and Shakespeare’s work when I consider a grander scale.

How does my writing stand up to thoughts expressed and emotions evoked? Am I really too old to embark on a writing journey? And, does it matter to any one else but me? I really don’t know. And, I’ll never know unless I do it. Make it part of me.

From articles I’ve read to speaking with friends, it’s not the things you do you regret as much as the ones you didn’t. When you reach an age that causes you to reassess your life’s experience, you can always begin something new. It may be the end of summer, but here’s an opportunity to erase regrets of inaction going forward.

Summer Vegetables in a BasketAs I sit here typing and hearing the chirps of chickadees and cooing of mourning doves, I am pondering the cycles of time. I do believe that I am a summer soul. I “wake” up in spring and, like a seedling, make a mad dash to grow and flower for the season. The summer nurtures my soul.  Summer rain smells like an energetic perfume. Lush colors entertain my eyes. And life’s abundance is apparent in all the fruits and vegetables. There is physical manifestation of bounty. I am beginning to sound a bit like a pilgrim, but the connection of man to the earth is viable and visible in summer. At no other time, for me, do I feel that deep chord of synchronicity with God, Universe, or however else you want to describe a higher power or state of being.

It’s those connections that move men (and women) into action. To produce. To create. To build. All the dreaming and best intentions don’t manifest until there is action. It is a simple one-to-one correlation, move and manifest, and repeat until done.

Yet, the biggest challenge to that simple rule is fear. What if it fails? What if it succeeds? What if I am not the right person? What if I am all wrong? All these types of questions erupt and upset that momentum. You know what I am talking about, and I wouldn’t write about this if I weren’t so intimate with the subject myself. The unknown entices the mind, body and soul, yet that same unknown evokes fear to block our pathway. Yes, it is that “Good news, bad news” joke.

So what do you do?

You’ve probably heard the adage “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” It’s true.

Because it is summer and I am feeling my creative juices flowing, I signed up for a blogging class with Chris Brogan (affiliate) and a book recommendation is “the War of  Art –  Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles” by Steven Pressfield.  I read it. It moved me into action.

Is it really that simple?

It might be if the following is true for you: Do you really want what you want bad enough so that you are willing to be honest with yourself? Can you give yourself permission to be authentic? Can you kick your self-critic to the curb permanently?

While I can hear most of you saying “Yes, Yes”, consider what you will gain if you do, and what you will lose if you do. For example, if you are truly willing to kick that self-critic to the curb permanently, you gain the freedom to create as you will and you lose that voice that tries to keep you safe. Wait … what was that? Keep me safe? Yup, the self-critic’s job is to keep you safe, safe from harm like other people’s criticism, situations with which you have no experience and might be bad. The self-critic keeps you just the way you are. You may not like it but it’s the safe way. Think about it. That internal voice advises you based on years of keeping you safe from harm. Are you ready to jettison her or him? If the answer is still yes, then you are opening the door for that authentic you to enter center stage.

Now, go read Pressfield’s book. Sign up for Chris Brogan’s class.  Me, I’ve got some tomatoes to pick in the garden. Catch you later.

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