Hello, writer friends!
I am posting this from amidst my partially unpacked life in our new (and lovely) riverside rental. Though we had begun the move in earnest a week-and-a-half ago, the Big Move Day was this past Saturday. In the rain. With much help from my beau and my parents, my daughter and I are now officially in our new place and, along with our cats, starting to really settle in. This weekend, the books will be shelved and the art will be hung. Then it will be home.
Because my world is still in chaos and I’m a bit behind on client deadlines, today’s post will be a short one, but one that I hope will be useful.
For a few days leading up to and during the move, I was so short on time that I had to put aside my Morning Pages ritual. When I returned to my notebook Monday morning, I wrote a list of all the stories that were rattling around in my head as a result of having lived through the move. Even under the physical and emotional stress that comes with a move, my writer’s mind was whirling away at full tilt – stashing ideas, making connections, parsing the experience into a collection of individual angles.
Here’s a copy of the list I made:
- Finding lost treasures in the process of packing – my Anna doll & Meghan [my daughter] playing with her
- Being overwhelmed by how much stuff I have & feeling a strong urge to pursue minimalism
- Giving stuff away – donations, gifts, recycling
- Realizing that nothing matters except the ones we love (the moment we thought Cinder [our younger cat] had escaped)
- Cinder and Bella’s [our cats’] perspective – their adjustment, my hypothesis that Bella may have been abandoned after a move
- Aging – feeling my age because of the physical exertion of hauling boxes and furniture up two and three flights of stairs
- Parents are always parents – Mom looking after me when we thought Cinder had escaped, packing & unpacking my kitchen, Dad there to ask the hard questions and help keep things moving
- Neighbors – old ones helping look for Cinder and missing us, new ones welcoming us, creating community wherever you are
- The beauty of our natural view – inspiring the way the light changes the river in so many ways
- Making a home a home – the little touches and treasures
- The kitchen dance – adjusting to a new layout and organization, muscle memory of the old set-up, creating a new rhythm
- Meghan’s [my daughter’s] experience and growing responsibilities – how hard she worked on the move, walking to dance, etc.
- Learning my weaknesses re: controlling a situation, needing things “just so,” and being afraid of change/the unknown
- Learning my own strength under fire – getting things done, physical endurance, taking charge
- A house isn’t a home until the books are unpacked
- Inhabiting a new space – the “ghosts” of past residents
- Small town connections – I know the original owners of this house – the “life” of a building
- Importance of light – letting it in, soaking it up, how it makes me happy
- The importance of rest and recuperation – physical but also mental and emotional
Well … you get the idea.
As writers, we have the creative ability to look at any situation or event from multiple angles and perspectives. Your topic doesn’t have to be something as “big” as a move, either. For example, you could look at something as simple as making & packing a school lunch in the same way:
- The challenges of finding healthy lunch foods for kids
- Plastic containers vs. throw-away packaging
- The deep need to nurture with food
- Memories of your own school lunches
- Memories of your own school lunchroom
- The rhythm of the morning routine
- The monotony of repetition in our daily lives
- The joys of stashing secret notes and surprises in a lunchbox
- Other packed lunches – Victorian picnics, 50s lunches for working men, etc.
… and so on.
No matter what your topic is, the ways you can “spin” it are endless. Go ahead and try it yourself. You may want to use a mind map to help you get the ideas out. Or, you can just scribble down a list the way I did. Either way, you’ll be amazed at how many ideas you can come up with once you open your writer’s mind to all the possibilities.
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.