Writing (in) the Moment Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links

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An unexpectedly lovely flowering burr that Daisy and I discovered on the river trail.

This has been the busiest summer I’ve had in a long while, and not in the fun, vacationing, reading, hitting-the-beach-and-hiking-with-my-daughter kind of way, but in the racing-to-meet-crazy-deadlines, working-seven-days-a-week, at-my-desk-’til-midnight kind of way that puts me in very real danger of total burn out. Despite moments of bitterness (Why does everyone else seem to be going on vacation, while I can’t??) and regret (My daughter will never be twelve again.), I am ultimately grateful to be as busy as I am. Being able to pay the bills is a Good Thing, and, as I’ve said before, this too shall pass.

Perhaps because of the complete insanity of my schedule and the breakneck speed of my days, any pocket of time that allows me to slow down even a little bit feels like an oasis. I had such a moment the other day when my daughter’s extended stay at the beach with friends left me to cover a dog walk for her. At first I was frustrated by the interruption (after all, it is her dog walking business), but I soon found myself thankful for the excuse to get away from my desk for a while. Even more important was the chance the walk gave me to exist in the moment, to just “be” as my canine companion and I walked down a wooded path that runs through town along the banks of the river.

It was late afternoon and still hot, but a rogue breeze wandered up and down the path, keeping the air just this side of oppressive. Unseen cicadas hummed their shrill tune from high up in the canopy of faded, drought-bedraggled leaves. A few ducks and gulls milled about, making slow circles on the surface of the river, and the sunlight that filtered down to the dusty path threw a greenish-golden cast over everything.

Daisy, my furry companion, snuffled about contentedly in the low undergrowth that lines the path, leaving me to my own thoughts. I walked slowly and felt, quite literally, like I was catching my breath. I closed my eyes and let my consciousness sink into the physical sensations of the moment – the hard ground beneath my feet, the gentle tug on the end of the leash, the warm air buffeting my face, the prickle of heat on the back of my neck. I inhaled and let the scent of late summer rush me back in time through an incoherent patchwork of summers gone by and other moments when I had paused to let a moment crystalize around me, captured in the web of my memory like an insect in amber. I heard, as though from a long way off, a layered symphony of sounds – the squabbling and chatter of the waterfowl, the muted whoosh of cars, a crow calling from the top of a soaring pine across the river, children’s voices from someone’s back yard, a siren somewhere towards town, and the cicadas.

All of this rushed into my mind in a moment, giving me the sensation of being pulled forcefully back into the world after a long period of sensory deprivation at my desk. I felt my shoulders drop and my chest relax slightly. I took another deep breath. This, I thought, is what people mean when they talk about “existing in the moment” – this grounded, open, undistracted way of being.

And then I realized how important it is to cultivate a similar feeling when we write. How we need to stay with the page, with the words, with each word. How we have to keep our minds from running away with our thoughts. Whether they are trying to drag us backwards to pace in agitation over the tired path of old regrets, or whether they are rushing ahead of us to worry about the unknown future,  our minds must be brought back to a point of stillness in the present moment. While looking back in time or imagining the future may provide us some inspiration, when we are actually at work, we have to stay in the moment with the story. We cannot, for instance, let ourselves get distracted by thoughts of missed opportunities or work ourselves into a frenzy of self doubt by wondering how our work will be received. I can’t tell you how many times my train of thought has been derailed by involuntary musings about how much a client is going to hate the piece I’m working on. (Reality check – they never hate anything I deliver.)

No. We can’t let our minds take advantage of us like that. Be in the moment. Stay with the story. Use the words to anchor you to what you’re writing. Like my feet planted on the path by the river, keep your attention rooted and focused – allowing you to tune in and stay with your words. It’s not easy, but when you find that space, you will gain clarity and flow in your writing. You will be able to let the rest of the world slip away so that you can focus on building a new one with your words. And then, in a kind of circle of magic, you will be able to invite others into that new world, sharing your story to help them focus their thoughts and maybe find their feet planted more solidly underneath them because of your story.

_jamie sig

 

 


My Favorite Blog Reads for the Week:

CRAFT

PUBLISHING & MARKETING

INSPIRATION

THE WRITING LIFE

 ··• )o( •··

Sundry Links and Whatnot:

Miniature BookcaseI came across this delight via Messy Nessy, a Cabinet of Chic Curiosities. Obviously, as a reader and writer, I’ve always loved books and libraries. But, I have also always loved miniatures. Though I never had a proper dollhouse, I turned my childhood bookcases into a house (and stables) for a doll. And I still have a collection of Tiny Things, which I display in an antique letterpress drawer that hangs on my living room wall. So, it was not surprising that I would swoon a little at the sight of this beautifully detailed miniature library.

Perhaps even more delightful, was the discovery that the creator of this fetching library space, Lady Delaney, has not only a beautiful website to explore, but also an Etsy shop where you can purchase all kinds of miniature books as well as a kit to make your own collection of miniature books. Sounds like a lovely fall/winter project to me!

 ··• )o( •··

Finally, a quote for the week:

pin stillness

Here’s to finding moments of peace in the chaos, staying with your story, and finding your feet beneath you.
.
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
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20 thoughts on “Writing (in) the Moment Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links

  1. happy Sunday from here to you Jamie the word lover,controller,dealer trader and the word librarian.At first I doubt if I will be able to finish reading your epistle on your dog walk as well as a writer s portrayal of the winter and summer elements.Sure they are relevant habitat factors in your productivity.I don’t think a writer s moments are out of context with whatever mental energy and metaphors s(he) will engage in the not too difficult and yet not so easy to do for everybody as a craft To live on! I also view that you re inspiring others it only to be able to write but also to engage in the culture of reading and keeping them insofar they belong to possessions ghat can last into centuries and still potently entertaining or educating if their hosts are interested,see more you!

    Gbemi Tijani,PHF AIMGLOBAL Regd MYCHOCO& VCAPS distributor& health coach Whatspp08035711291,SMS (08166663316)

    Sent from my iPad

    • Gbemi,
      I have to admit that I can’t always follow your train of thought exactly, but I appreciate your presence and enthusiasm. Here’s to more reading and writing in all our lives!!
      🙂

    • Ruh-ro – did I just rate as a distraction? I’m not sure whether to be flattered, or to rap my own knuckles. 😉

      Good luck finding your center and staying there … at least in small bursts of time.

  2. So very true Jamie. It’s odd (in a good way), but this way of being is coming easy to me over the past week or so. Goddess, it’s such a more pleasant way of being than, well, the other way. Even today, I am in town with a chunk of the day to kill between two appointments. I would normally be not only irritated at this, but slightly freaked out at the waste of time. I thought about studying at the library, then realised that it’s closed on Mondays. And then I just accepted the situation. I sat in the glorious Spring sunshine on the river reading my book, and now I am in a cafe having lunch and reading your blog. I find that this time is just what I needed. Who would have thought that the universe would arrange things to our benefit??

    • I love the way you surrendered to the imperfect perfection of your time to kill, Sara. 🙂
      I want to explore more deeply the way that time seems to “open up” when I let it. I often wonder if I am letting my preoccupation with being busy change my perception of time. Do you think? 😉
      This is a whole other topic, of course, but one that’s closely related to this idea of just being in the moment and accepting the flow of our day for what it is … and being grateful and awed and full of love.
      xo ❤

  3. Boing! As I read this I was at first taken by the specificity and clarity and then…boing! Your point about cultivating the same feeling when we write gave me the clarity I was looking for following my 6-day “Clear-the-Air” road trip. I am humbled to realize this is serious business and to do the work, I must allow myself the luxury of getting lost in it, just as I did in the adventure I aspire to share in my blog. Another inspiring post, Jamie. Thank you!

    • I’m so happy to know that this post may have helped you find clarity. Every little bit helps, right? 😉

      As for being humbled, that’s a good thing. I’m humbled each and every day when I read the work of writers I admire and realize how much effort had to have gone into making that final product. I like to think of it as “daunting” instead of “discouraging.” I do not let the knowledge that writing is hard work keep me from doing it. And I’m doing my best to learn that sometimes the “hard work” is – as you put it – allowing yourself the luxury of getting lost in it.

      Happy writing & happy road tripping!

  4. Thank you Jamie for yet another inspiring blog. I very much look forward to receiving your blogs not only for the content but also for the artful way that you write and use words to express your thoughts. Good luck with your hectic schedule.
    Angélique

    • Thank you so much, Angelique, for the kind words and the well wishes.
      I’m very glad to have you here & smiling to know that this little ramble provided some inspiration.

      Have a great week!

  5. I find even a short walk great for dealing with the feeling of being overwhelmed, be it by my current fiction project or by whatever is keeping me from it! Thanks for a thoughtful blog posting.

    • I agree. It’s amazing how quickly a change of scenery and the chance to reorient ourselves in the moment can shift not only our perspective, but our whole mindset.

      … I really need to get away from my desk more often! 😉

  6. Reblogged this on Mister Journalism: "Reading, Sharing, Discussing, Learning" and commented:
    “While looking back in time or imagining the future may provide us some inspiration, when we are actually at work, we have to stay in the moment with the story. We cannot, for instance, let ourselves get distracted by thoughts of missed opportunities or work ourselves into a frenzy of self doubt by wondering how our work will be received. I can’t tell you how many times my train of thought has been derailed by involuntary musings about how much a client is going to hate the piece I’m working on. (Reality check – they never hate anything I deliver.)

    No. We can’t let our minds take advantage of us like that. Be in the moment. Stay with the story. Use the words to anchor you to what you’re writing.”

    – Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.

  7. It seems to be a contradiction doesn’t it? But what you say is so true! Our mind’s can “get in the way.” I have found that just sitting on the back porch, even for fifteen minutes, is amazingly helpful, perhaps now necessary, for me. It gives me that quiet interlude where I do nothing so that later I can do “something.”

    Thank you Jamie for a great post.

    • Hello, Paula. 🙂
      It does seem to be a contradiction. It’s hard, when we’re trying to hard to keep up with everything, to accept that sometimes standing still (and breathing) is what’s required to move us forward. Sounds crazy, but … it works.

      Thanks for coming by. Wish I could join you on your back porch – sounds lovely!

  8. Pingback: Friday Fun – Favorite Thing About Back-to-School | Live to Write – Write to Live

  9. Pingback: Writer’s Weekend Edition – A Crisis of [Writing] Faith | Live to Write – Write to Live

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