Friday, November 20, 2015

Evolution of a Writer - Part 4 Play Like A Child

"The most potent muse of all is our own inner child." - Stephen Nachmanovitch.

The past few weeks have been a challenge for my family and myself. I won't go into much detail, but my writing has not my priority. It's been all about my son. He's been having a tough time. Missing school because of a concussion and making a trip to urgent care with a nice five stitch worthy cut. Poor little guy. I shouldn't say little, he's thirteen and taller than me. But he had a science project due and since he is in Advanced Content Science, he had to enter the Science Fair. He planned his project, but didn't realize how much building he would have to do so, my husband and I had been helping him. (It was a cool project about safe houses and tornadoes.)

I was binge watching Bones and working on panels for the house he was building, I was gluing these panels together and getting the stuff all over my fingers. It dried. I looked at my fingers, grinned and peeled it off.  As a child, I LOVED to put glue on my hands and try to take it off in one piece.  Have any of you ever done that? I had fun making those tiles just so I had an excuse to peel the glue off my fingers. That child-like joy of doing something so simple as to play with glue, was fun.

"Soapbubbles-SteveEF" by Steve Ford Elliott - More bubbles. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Commons -

I know. You're probably wondering where I'm going with this. Life, as an adult, is so full.  We go to work, come home, help our kids, play taxi, etc.  We have bills, taxes, car payments, house payments, the list  goes on. We get lost and so does our child-like joy. We become so jaded watching the news, and television that life doesn't seem fun anymore. Commercials show us how fun life should be if we use that product, or buy this car, but that is not life.

What I have noticed is that we seem to hunger for simpler things. I work part-time at Michaels. I like the job. I get to see what everyone is creating. But what I also see is that search for fun and simple joy. Coloring books for adults have become very popular. We carry a wide variety. I ring them up, and see all the designs. They're beautiful. The act of coloring relieves the stress of our over-scheduled life.

Another popular trend is Zentangle. My sister introduced me to this creative artwork. So, what is Zentangle? Zentangle is an art form that creates images from repetitive patterns. It's supposed to relieve stress and increase a sense of well being. I see it as doodling. My sister's pictures are beautiful. I'm trying to see if I can make one into a cross stitch pattern.

Zentangle courtesy of my sister
These are technological-free forms of creativity. Are we yearning from some simple non-tech time? Don't get me wrong, I do like my IPhone, and computer, but I've noticed, in myself, that need for non-tech time. I'm setting my computer aside to something else. Something creative and relaxing. For me, it's counted cross stitch. As I sit with pattern, needle, floss, and fabric, I find it frees my mind to do some  creating in the background. I have solved plot problems and come up with new story ideas by sitting and stitching.

You may wonder what all this had to do with writing? A lot, really. Without the permission to live in that simplicity, to be who we are supposed to be, how can we create? Some of you may say, "I don't write children's books." I don't either, but freeing our imagination like a child can help our characters grow and evolve. While you color, those what-ifs, wow-what-a-cool-story-idea, and so-that's-how-I-fix-that-plot-hole will come through.

Put aside the stress of marketing your novel, getting in that word count, or meeting that deadline.  Doodle and draw like children. Go play. Sit down and color. Sit down and draw. Let the colors fill the pages as ideas fill your minds. Have fun.

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