Wednesday, July 6, 2016


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.

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