A new way of thinking: what I learned on ‘sabbatical’


After my last post, penned two months ago, the mojo I’d regained (see Change up the rules…) suddenly vanished without warning. I felt uninspired. Specifically: unmotivated to read or write. Worse yet: I feared I’d lost my love of the written word; hence, my sabbatical of sorts. But I never strayed far. I attended a writing workshop for six weeks to keep my finger on the pulse of creative plotting strategies. I also wrote an article for an online trade magazine. And, during it all, I picked the artistic minds of several writers and learned a new way to approach my writing: with permission to play. Not only does this concept eliminate the pressure to “get it right the first time” (be honest, does that ever happen, anyway?), but it also inspired a vision for one, three, five plus years down the road. Most importantly: I’m reading and writing again. As a wise yogi once said: Whatever we practice becomes greater.

What do you need to practice more?

Image source: http://www.mindylacefieldart.com.

The brightest heaven of invention

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[Image credit: Pixomar]

O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.
~ William Shakespeare

When I was younger, a crushed boy-girl relationship yielded my most inspired and impassioned writing.  Now that I’m older and have outgrown the childhood drama, I still require some sort of muse to fuel the creative juices.  Oftentimes I find it while curled up on my chaise lounge, staring at the leaves on the trees filtering late afternoon sunlight and dappling the pavers.  But other times, it runs dry like parched grass or riverbeds in the Southwest summer heat, and I need something more.  Perhaps that change of scenery I’ve mentioned.  If I had my way, I’d travel across country and settle in a beachfront cabin, the Gulf in front of me and laptop at my fingertips.  For now, however, I must continue searching for that muse of fire where I currently reside.  And if I’m lucky, it’ll always burn from within.

Who or what gets your muse motor revved up?

Drawing a blank

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Every writer I know has trouble writing. ~ Joseph Heller

Last night I went to bed with a migraine headache.  Although I woke up pain-free this morning, I also possessed zero ideas to ramble about.  It could be my brain just hasn’t fully woken up, yet.  Or perhaps it is not so much a dried-up well of creative juices, as it is a blockage — so many thoughts that have become stopped up.  Maybe it has to do with my lack of time at the gym while my ankle continues healing.  All I know is, I am not alone.  Maybe you’re a runner and have simply lost your inspiration for the sport. Or once-upon-a-time you planned to sing or dance, travel or fill in the blank but you lost your vision.  If I could write out a prescription for my complaint, I would order some non-weight-bearing cardio to work up a good sweat in order to dislodge the damn of ideas.  And then I’d throw in a trip to the library to further exercise my mind until the words flowed unimpeded.  As a matter of fact, after my mandatory cup of sweetened green tea, I’m heading out to the pool.

What’s your prescription for staying on top of your game?

[Image credit: smokedsalmon]

Bumming around, or recharging your battery?

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[Image credit: Michal Marcol]


In a past post, I talked about penciling in time to be flexible  (because you never know what you may be missing otherwise).  Admittedly, from the moment my alarm goes off in the morning, my day is mapped out for me.  But what about allowing for those times after a non-stop work week filled with outside commitments, when you feel like doing nothing more than sit at the computer in your fuzzy bathrobe playing Words With Friends and catching up on Facebook?  Or maybe you simply desire to lie on the sofa (a.k.a beach) with a book you picked up over the weekend that you haven’t had a chance to read yet, or download a movie on Netflix you’ve intended to watch for months.  Unfortunately, I usually feel a little guilty (and a lot lazy) when I slack off because I know my tasks are not getting done.  On the other hand, I also think bumming around could be considered a bit like a mini-vacation, a way to fill your own bucket — refresh the spirit, if you will — in small increments.  So the next time you check in with me, don’t be surprised if I’m slow to answer your text or respond to your email because I may just be too busy recharging my creative juices.  In other words, I’ve gone bumming.

What’s a favorite way to recharge your battery?