Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Percolation and taking breaks (Beyond the Words - 4)

Continuing on in the series from the book Beyond the Words by Bonni Goldberg, Chapter 4 is "Don't Write Every Day." Some interesting quotes from that chapter:

"Self-care is abut balance....a fair amount of people's unhappiness or dissatisfaction with their writing life develops from imbalances." p. 31

"Not writing allows time for percolation to take place, gives your creativity time to replenish, and gives you the distance from your writing to gain perspective on it." p. 32.

Goldberg suggests people rest each of the five sense by doing something special for each one. Examples
- float around in a swimming pool (touch)
- eating a cheese-and-cracker snack using a different mustard for each one (taste).
- inhaling the scent of tea while you drink it — etc.

"Another type of rest from daily writing is simply doing the other work you normally do: gardening, parenting, programming, plumbing.." p. 33

"Writing is supposed to give you pleasure. That doesn't preclude its being hard work or temporarily frustrating, or tapping into a reservoir of difficult emotions and memories.... because of the challenges or writing, at some level you want to feel connected to a sense of excitement, anticipation, urgency, wonder, gratitude, reverence, or downright playfulness and genuine joy as you go along. If you don't, you probably need to walk away from putting words down on paper or screen for a while...just long enough to reestablish your connection to the spirit of writing.." p. 35.

My thoughts:

Percolation that happens with time away from writing reminds me of water that comes up to fill a hole  you've dug at the beach.  There really is a mysterious and magical quality about it.

On the other hand, I have found my banner quote by Madeline L'Engle: "Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it," to be true more often than not. Ideas and resolution come as I work. The juices start flowing as words hit the page. Writing is part of my process of figuring out what I think. Sometimes, in fact often, I feel much better after I've just done it, rather than giving in to my negative self-messages that  I'm too tired or uninspired.

Of course a regular one-in-seven day of rest (sabbath) is a Bible principle that is not some arbitrary rule that God thought up, but there to help us function in the way we're designed to work best. I'm sure rest helps to clear those clogged channels so that ideas can again bubble into consciousness.


L.L. Barkat said...

I write in fits and starts. It seems to be my way. :) (Every day... not :)

violet said...

I have three times, taken month-long challenges to write a poem a day. I succeeded twice, and the last time I only faltered near the end. However, I don't think it's my natural rhythm either. What happened to me is, after the month was over, I felt like I deserved a holiday and didn't write another poem for quite a while.

DJ said...

I enjoyed reading your post.Your comment makes me nervous though :-)