Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Happy (Lazy) Side of the Writing Life

The laziness of a cat astounds me.  These images just touch the tip of the iceberg of how lazy -- or comfortable -- a house cat can become once they feel safe in their surroundings.  Humans love their pets; cats are particularly loved.  There's even a Pet Camp in San Francisco where feline "campers to have the opportunity that most citified cats never get – the chance to explore the great ‘outdoors’ within a safe, secure environment."  (You're probably wondering where I'm going with this, right?)

I have a feline friend as well, or rather, my children do.  I've been watching him for the last few weeks.  He's a well-fed, happy guy who sleeps, eats, poos, races up and down, scratches his post and gets massaged by both children daily.  He's happy.  This feline king does all the things necessary for his happiness and comfort.

As writers, what do we do daily to make sure our writing selves are happy and comfortable?  Writing, on certain days, can be a chore; we all know that.  However, how do you take yourself out of the writing doldrums?  Do you paint?  Do you jet-ski?  Do you fish?  Do you write limericks?  Do psychotherapy??  Or, do you too, like these funny felines kick back and relax?

There are so many stories that people from the previous generations tell.  I recall a story my Grandmother used to love to share.  This man was a workaholic.  He was providing for his family and doing a very good job of it.  He had been suffering with headaches on and off for a few weeks but thought nothing of it.  Drank some coconut water and sat a few minutes extra after meals before dashing off to the next thing.  One morning, he got up and rushed out even though he really did not feel well.  Later that day, he died of a heart attack.  My Grandmother told us that the doctors told them that if he had just rested a few extra minutes -- 15 to 30 minutes -- he would have lived.

So, now when we look at this kitten who fell asleep in their food, well -- what can one say except this kitty is following the doctor's orders!  Now, I'm not suggesting you start pumping out Zzzzs at the table right after (or during) dinner but what will make you purrr with pleasure?  Remember to do things that pump up your excitement for writing...again.  If painting by numbers does it for you -- do it!  If Zumba classes make your creative juices run -- get moving!

In a recent post by Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman, he writes:

"Creativity researchers aren't so confused. They have long-ago accepted the fact that creative people are complex. Almost by definition, creativity is complex. Creative thinking is influenced by many traits, behaviors, and sociocultural factors that come together in one person."

So, if creative people are so complex, why do people always ask us dumb stuff like -- when's your next project going to be finished?  Where do you get your ideas?  Or, my personal favorite -- What's your writing regimen?

When you're working hard to balance work, family and your creativity these questions are tough to answer because our priorities must shift every day, every hour and sometimes every minute based upon what's happening in one's immediate life.

Due to the aforementioned complexity of our inner selves, the answers to the questions posed abouve should be suitably complex as well.  For instance, when asked when your book/next project will be completed you can say...

The absolute absurdity of your inquiry astounds me.  How can you blithely put forth this request when the molecules within my cerebrum and hippocampus are still processing the creative merit of the filament of an idea that jumped the chasm between my neurons in the billionth of a second that has just past.  How tremendously oxymoronic of you to stifle my creativity!  Hhmpf.

Or, if this answer is a bit much to roll off your tongue smoothly, just grab hardcover book and drum incessantly until the inquirer backs away slowly and flees when they're a good enough distance away.

Seriously, writing has to remain fun or else the stresses of everyday life and the pressure of meeting one's self-imposed goals start to wear one down and the inevitable happens -- no writing is done.

Remember the fun of writing.  The absolute joy you experienced when you first wrote (and completed) your first story, novel, essay, or poem.  Encapsulate that joy and breathe it in every time you feel the pangs of worry, angst, or writer's block coming your way.

The best cure for insecurity in your writing is -- gasp -- TO WRITE.

Until next time -- happy writing!!


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