Monday, March 23, 2015

A Writer's Garden or Good Excuses To Goof Off

Taking a break today from the frenetic existence that has become my life lately. As if I needed more to do during the day, I have now established a small houseplant garden in my writing room. 

You don't often get pictures on this blog - ok, never up to this point, so here's to first times for everything.

And the TV tray is now full. A good mixture of foliage, flowers, and succulents. Some interesting, some traditional. The word eclectic comes to mind. 

The jewel of the collection is that purple African Violet. There are two different colors of flower on this same plant.

That same flower stalk with the bi-colored flowers also has solid colored flowers. As far as I can tell, there is only one plant in that pot. There's offshoot, naturally, but none old enough to flower, I don't believe. I'm going to have to post a picture on an African Violet site to see if anyone's ever seen this before. 

Why do I bring this up now? Well, aside from the conscious decision to be a complete goof off today, I began to consider how manual tasks, like gardening, are a good way to reset the mind and sometimes even come up with a good story idea or two. Or not. 

For instance, this morning I finished potting all of my new friends. While doing so, my foremost thoughts were on the task at hand while echoes and dust bunnies occupied the further recesses. This time, that part of my mind went on vacation for a while, but it could have just as easily been mulling over this third draft I'm about to begin or sparking a new story idea.

For me, gardening (both indoor and outdoor) is one of those manual type tasks that lets my mind take a little vacation to wander wherever it will. Maybe a story idea will develop or maybe it won't. Got a problem with the current work in progress? Might come up with a solution, might not. Even if no breakthrough happens, my mind gets a restful vacation and I get a pleasing display to gaze at whenever I feel the urge. 

I believe that mental vacations are crucial to creativity. I know it's difficult for me to write if I'm mentally exhausted. That's one reason why I've also arranged my writing area so that I can easily see out one of the two windows in the room without having to move. I can watch the traffic go by, watch it rain when it's raining (not going to mention snow because it's Spring!) or just stare into space. 

Another tactic I use to combat a full mind is to play a game on my computer. I have several in which I can get lost and forget everything including the time spent playing. Others are good for a few minutes of distraction before they annoy me and I decide I'd rather get back to work. 

Once my mind has been reset, I can return to whatever it is I'm working at and I'm good for another hour or two. To the world, it may look like I'm goofing off again when really, it's battle strategy I've learned through the years I've spent at this writing thing. 

So give yourself permission to goof off once in a while. Who knows? You might come up with the next blockbuster novel that way.


Janet Levings said...

BEAUTIFUL PENNY!! thanks for have you been?

Janet Levings said...

I love poetry so may post some of that in the future.