Recently I read where someone described herself as a computer potato. I had to laugh because her description applied to me as well. I've been firmly ensconced in my desk chair putting together presentations, going over galleys of three books, writing blogs, and marketing. Yep, I've definitely qualified as a computer potato. But there is a price to be paid for potatohood. In my case it is rut-brain.
Life gets complicated and busy, doesn't it? So much so that I sometimes find I've mentally trudged myself into a writing ditch. The process is so gradual that at first I'm not really aware of it. But then I notice myself hitting the wall of the trench I've dug. I'm not moving forward. I keep hitting delete, delete, delete. Then it dawns on me, Linda you have rut-brain. It is time to climb out of that ditch, wake up your wonder and refresh your senses.
Climbing out of the rut to wake up my senses is fun and easy. I can do it anywhere. It is like revisiting my childhood when everything was interesting, fresh, and new. This practice not only reinvigorates my writing, but it also rejuvenates my soul. It is my way of grabbing time by the throat and taking time for myself away from the demands of life. I may take thirty minutes, or I may take a couple of hours. The important thing is that I do it.
Okay Linda, so what do you do, already?
I begin by going outside and looking at things as if I had never seen them before. I notice textures, colors, sound, and smells. If I have a piece of fruit I notice its shape, its color, how it feels in my hand, what happens when I cut into it, how it tastes, and what my physical response is to the fruit. Have you ever just held an uncut lemon to your nose and breathed deep? It is lovely.
I practice what Laura Ingalls Wilder used to do. She had been given the important task of 'seeing' for her blind sister Mary. Laura tried to describe things in unconventional ways. So I do the same. I may ask myself what a Blue Jays call looks like instead of what it sounds like. My answer? Shattered glass.
Another thing I enjoy is people-watching. I'll admit, I'm a shameless eavesdropper. I jot down lines of conversation, note voice tone, body language, dialect, facial expressions, repeated phrases, and moods. Does wonders for realistic dialogue.
Walking and observing, being aware of the things around me, and asking childlike questions really opens my mind. What is the baby watching me from over his mother thinking? I stare up in a tree. Even though I know all the leaves are the same color, I notice how the light makes the tree seem to have several shades of green. I try to describe them. How many forms of life is in that tree? Birds? Bugs? Other plants? I wonder about the things that have happened around the tree during its lifetime.
Child-like, I know. But hey, it works for me. So why not give it a try? Have some fun waking up your wonder. AND if you already do this, let us know what you do, so maybe we can give it a try.
Linda Apple is the author of Writing From Your Soul, Writing Life ~ Your Stories Matter, Connect ~ A Simple Guide to Public Speaking for Writers, POW; Promises Kept and Women Of Washington Avenue, her debut novel and the first book in her Moonlight Mississippi series. Her personal experience stories have been published in 16 of the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Her devotions have been published in numerous devotion magazines and books. She lives in Fayetteville Arkansas with her husband, Neal, their five children, five children-in-love, and ten grandchildren.
Jody Bailey Day writes inspirational fiction from west Texas. Her debut novel, Washout Express, released June 2013 from Harbourlight Books. Her short stories, poems, devotionals, and articles have appeared in Mature Living, Splickety Magazine, The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Southern Writers Magazine, and Christiandevotions.us, She is a two time Grand Prize Winner at the East Texas Christian Writers Conference, and a Faithwriters.com Best of the Best award winner. She and her pastor husband have six grown children and nine grandchildren.
Deborah Dee Harper writes from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, by way of Michigan, Kentucky, Alaska, Mississippi, and Alaska (again). Deb is a graduate of the Jerry B. Jenkins Christian Writers Guild classes and writes Christian humorous and inspirational books for both children and adults. Her children’s adventure series, Laramie on the Lam, available in both e-book and print, is being re-published as six individual print books. Her Road’s End series (Misstep, Faux Pas, and Misjudge) for adults is also contracted and should be published soon. She is currently nearing completion on the first book of another series. She is represented by Terry Burns of Hartline Literary Agency.
Lisa Lickel is an award-winning multi-published inspirational novelist, blogger, reviewer, and writing mentor. A freelance editor, Lisa loves all things historical. Her work has appeared in Writer's Digest and Christian Fiction Online.
Liberty Speidel has been a voracious reader since reading her first Nancy Drew book. But she was telling stories long before then with her figurines from Disney's Rescue Rangers. When she's not writing, you may find her gardening, baking, crocheting, or hiking. A lifelong Kansan, she now resides in the Kansas City metro area with her husband, children, and chocolate Labrador, where she could rival Captain Jean Luc Picard in consumption of Earl Grey tea. She is the author of Emergence, Retaliation, and Capitulation, novellas and novels in her series featuring superhuman and police detective Darby Shaw.
Donn Taylor led an Infantry rifle platoon in the Korean War, served with Army aviation in Vietnam, and worked with air reconnaissance in Europe and Asia. Afterwards, he earned a PhD in English literature (Renaissance) and for eighteen years taught literature at two liberal arts colleges. His poetry has appeared in leading journals and is collected in his book Dust and Diamond: Poems of Earth and Beyond.His fiction includes a light-hearted mystery, Rhapsody in Red, and two suspense novels, Deadly Addictive and The Lazarus File, and a historical romance, Lightning on a Quiet Night. He is a frequent speaker at writers’ groups and conferences. He lives near Houston, TX, where he continues to write fiction and poetry, as well as essays on writing, ethical issues, and U.S. foreign policy.
Editor/Author Linda Yezak lives with her husband in a forest in east Texas, where tall tales abound and exaggeration is an art form. She is a speaker/lecturer for various writers' groups and conferences. Her fiction books include Give the Lady a Ride, The Simulacrum, and The Cat Lady's Secret. Her nonfiction books include Writing in Obedience, co-written with Hartline Literary agent Terry Burns.
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