Talking — or writing — it out

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[Image credit: digitalart]

I tend to talk too much.  Some would say I simply like to hear myself talk, although I prefer to call it thinking out loud.  Thankfully, writing fills the gap when there’s no one to talk to or no one who wants to listen.  According to Carlos Fuentes, writing is a struggle against silence.  And when I find myself dealing with things I have little control over, writing frequently helps me make sense of my thoughts and feelings better than when I talk it out.  I think it’s because there are no rules to follow (except for grammar and spelling because I just can’t help it); the ideas can just flow in their sometimes jumbled, other times orderly fashion.  Whether it’s an email, letter, blog post or is not meant to be shared at all, in the words of Isaac Asimov, writing, to me, is simply thinking through my fingers.  And it’s a lot quieter, too.

Do you prefer verbal — or written communications — for “working it out?”

A time and a place

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[Image credit: Master isolated images]

I’ve often wondered when and where the great thinkers get their best ideas.  Perhaps while strolling through the surf, the sand warm and the water icy cold between their toes, or maybe pedaling in spin class, the beat of bass and beads of sweat coalescing in their ears.  Or possibly inspiration strikes while hiking up the side of a mountain with a group of friends, the sounds of nature interrupted only by labored breaths and shifting rock.  Or it may take an injury to force them to sit still long enough to dig into that place normally reserved for a rare piece of spare time carved out of a day or months filled with never-ending commitments.  Personally, I believe it can be anywhere or any time when a solution presents itself to a dilemma (i.e., story idea, life-altering decision, etc.).  It just requires an open mind and a willing heart to hear the answers.

Where do you conduct your most insightful thinking?

A mountaintop experience

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[Image credit: Michal Marcol]

Last night I met up with a girlfriend and four other women on a southwest desert mountain where we enjoyed sprawling views, a cardio workout and I learned a few things.  First, it doesn’t seem to matter that I hit the gym six days a week.  Hiking — uphill and on uneven and rock-strewn paths — is vastly different from spin class or lifting weights.  Additionally, wearing a headlamp is a practical way to remain hands-free, as well as make a bold fashion statement among your peers.  I also realized meeting new people not only can lead to new friendships, but you may even discover you have more in common than a mutual love of the outdoors.  (Speaking of which, I never really considered myself an “outdoorsy”-type person, but it turns out I can count on more than one hand the number of activities I delight in beyond my typical four walls.)  And while the sun set in the desert, blanketing the six of us in dusk as I thought out loud next to my hiking partner, I learned I can be happy and content while I’m in this new season of self-discovery despite frequent detours to the waiting place.  I’m definitely thinking a regular meet-up with this group of hikers is in order because I, for one, have so much more to learn.

Where do you experience your best epiphanies?