Note To Self – Stop Thinking So Much!

Got to thinking today about how much time we lose over-thinking things.

We have a bright idea. Then we think of all the alternatives. Then we carefully think through each alternative including the benefits of doing nothing.

In the meantime our original idea has gone from pure energy to a whisper in the mist – full of fear and doubt.

Fear and doubt brings on a sense of urgency, and in our rush to do something, we choose between the two most obvious thoughts: what we’ve always done or nothing.

The hours, days, weeks and years tick on by. And we keep thinking.

Now if we flip things around: Do as much as we currently think, and think as much as we previously did – we might see different results.

Here’s a little haiku:

Whales sing across seas.
Trees weave with the universe.
Only people stop…

To think.

 

 

Before and After – Haikus on a Sunday Morning

Here are two Haikus. I wrote one before I read the Sunday papers. I wrote the second after I read the Sunday papers.

 

I shouldn’t have read the Sunday papers.

 

Before
Magnolia walls
Sunday sleeps long in this house
Safe in our cocoon

After
Wild wind sweeps the earth
Rain drowns sorrow – futures grow
Blind in our cocoon

 

Home – Haiku, book recommend and Journey Notes for Writers

I’m currently reading Herman Charles Bosman’s short story collection: The Collected Works of Herman Charles Bosman. If you want a peek into a version of early South Africa, then I recommend it. Beautiful stories. Some very funny, some achingly poignant. South Africa has her battles, but she’s come a long, long way since those early colonial days.

Here’s a little Haiku called Home:

 

Leopard in the grass
Dawn to dust, sun on his back
The door is open

 

Journey Notes for Writers: Writing a novel takes as long as it takes. Some people crack their nut in the first year – like they were born with a clear path. Others wander through all sorts of hills and valleys on the road to getting there.

With that in mind, I’ve been thinking about the size of your canvas. Some artists paint intricate scenes on an inch square tile in minute and exquisite detail. Others need the side of a building.

So if you’re a “journey writer” then take a moment to consider the canvas you’re working on. Some writers work well within the rules and confines of a tight genre. Some don’t. So if what you’re doing isn’t working, consider whether your story needs more space. Perhaps you should be writing an epic that stretches over generations and worlds. Just a thought…

Writing is Great Therapy – Haikus and Journey Notes

I woke this morning with a feeling of dread and impending doom – couldn’t pin down why. I expect you’ve felt it yourself on occasion – like you’re standing on the edge of a cliff with a strong wind at your back. Here’s a Haiku to explain what I mean:

 

Tendrils reach through dreams
Sticky fingers on your soul
Wake up to what’s real

No… that doesn’t really describe it. It’s more like this:

Crow roosts on your dreams
Dread, the oil slick on your soul
Messenger from Hell

Still not right. Too dark. The dread always lifts when you get up and move, write and create, breathe and grow back into your skin after a restless night. So this is closer:

Black oceans below
Dreams beam sunshine on shadows
Water wings – dive in.

 

Journey Note for Writers: Writing is a great therapy. Use it.

 

Choosing a Path

My thinking over the last two days has been about choosing a path.

When you’re working on something like a novel, it can be hard to decide what to focus on. The outcome is so uncertain. Your imagination is endless. There are so many options.

Yesterday, when I felt conflicted and a little messed in the head, this little Haiku came out:

 

Too many choices
Pebbles tossed on an ocean floor
What does your heart say?

Today, I found a little more clarity. I’ve decided which path to choose. It wasn’t an analytical decision in the end. The best ones never are. I looked at two options in my mind. One shone brighter. A couple of weeks ago we talked about a third way. This is a third way:

One hand on the earth
Fingers draw life from the core
One hand on your heart

I think you always know what you have to do. It just takes time to admit it to yourself. When you do, you have no choice but to follow through.

Daily Practice

I’m thinking about daily practice. How, bit by bit, small daily actions accumulate to become something meaningful.

Every day new blooms
Dew drop-by-drop hugs the dawn
And so the tree grows

 

Journey notes for writers: I woke up thinking about consistency this morning: Daily practice.

I guess it’s because I’m doing a mindfulness course and an analogy has stuck with me: Mindfulness is like learning to swim. If you learn to swim and you practice, you’ll be fine if you fall out a boat.

It’s the same with writing: practice every day; learn the craft; no matter what it takes. Then, when you sit down to say what you really want to say, the words you need will be there.

OK. That’s it.

 

Recipe for a Great Stew

In writing, don’t rush into anything. Especially not to trash almost 2 years worth of work. Here’s a little Haiku called “Recipe for a Great Stew”. Below is a note to writers.

Fill your fireside pot
Stand to live then sit to write
Time makes perfect stew

JOURNEY NOTE FOR WRITERS: 
As you may know, I trashed the last version of FF. I’d worked on it for almost 2 years and it came back from my awesome editor with so many holes that I decided it had to go. I really did consign it to the Lessons Learned bin and moved on.

Then this morning I glanced at the editor’s additional notes and realised I’d been a little hasty. Yes, the plot is mostly rubbish, the location isn’t quite right, sequencing is out, and completely illogical and all too convenient things happen all through the story that just don’t tie up. But I like the premise and most of the characters are really great.

Now, here’s the realisation… If you “put your book aside for a while”, it’ll stew. That’s true. And when you come back to it you’ll see holes and inconsistencies and you’ll make some changes. But if you really let it go – if you genuinely trash it – then when you come back to it, nothing will be precious. You’ll see all the gaps and issues and starting over (from the very beginning if necessary) won’t feel so hard. Sometimes we have to really let something go before we see it for what it really is.

That’s it. Happy stewing today, folks.
Tina