The Writing Life Thrives on Ideas
When I first woke this morning, I wanted only to turn over and go back to sleep. Like many writers, I stayed awake too late writing. I needed the extra hour and a half before my alarm was due to go off. So I did turn over, put on my sleeping mask and turn on my white noise machine to make it dark and keep it quiet. But the white noise could not silence my brain. It was considering ideas for a new writing prompt for the Medium publication, Weeds and Wildflowers, one of my favorites.
As often happens, ideas started sprouting until my brain was about to burst. I knew I’d never remember them all unless I wrote them down. And I wouldn’t be able to sleep while I was afraid of losing them. So even though I was not quite awake, I put the bed into a sitting position, grabbed the tablet and the pen next to my bed, and starting writing. It only took about five minutes, but I still couldn’t go back to sleep. I gave it up, went to the kitchen, and started making my green tea. I was hoping it would settle my sleepy stomach enough to welcome food before time to take my morning medications. Mug in hand I moved to my computer.
Ideas Don’t Come in Neat Packages
That unruly chard plant above is reseeding. Its stems reach in many different directions. I have let it grow unobstructed in what used to be my lawn before I stopped watering it. Its seed came from a mother plant in my front flowerbed. God watered it with rain until it broke through the soil’s surface and entered my world. Since then it continued to grow wherever it pleased, with a bit of occasional water during hot weather. It’s actually over a year old now. In the photo below, you can see some of last year’s seeds still clinging to it.
My mind is always bursting with ideas. I have unfinished drafts on several sites, each from an idea I didn’t want to forget. But there’s never time to help each grow into a full post. So, just as seeds sit in the soil waiting for the right season to sprout, my ideas sit and wait until their time comes.
So it is with the chard. The stems are full of seeds, each with the potential to be a new plant. But it has to fall into the right soil, survive any birds who might want to eat it, and receive water and nourishment. Otherwise it will not develop into a plant. If it does beat the odds, the plant may not survive long enough to produce a crop of healthy leaves and new seeds. It takes time for a healthy plant to develop into what it was meant to be.
Like the chard seeds, the ideas that land in our brains need to arrive at the right time for us to cultivate and nourish them until they mature. If even a fraction of the chard seeds in these photos were to sprout on a square yard of good soil, only a couple might survive as mature plants. There is no room for the soil to support all of them to maturity. Some will become strong, dominate the space, and grow into strong plants that bear the fruits they are supposed to. In this case, seeds. So it is with our ideas.
From Writing Idea to Blog Post
I got the idea for this blog post as I was considering the ideas I wanted to incorporate into the one that stole my extra sleep this morning. When I came to the computer to begin that post, the screen was full of distractions. Before I could even open my browser, I had to deal with the results of a new Windows update. Then the subscription bookseller database that stores my book records, Booktrakker, insisted it needed to update before I could even open it. It doesn’t update all at once, but in stages, one utility at a time, and you have to keep watching and clicking. Meanwhile, Dropbox and Google had to butt in with their screens that demanded action before they would move out of my way.
When I got my browser open, Medium notified me a new post had been published. I clicked away to get the link to post to a Facebook group for Medium writers, before it got any later. That reminded me that today is the sharing day in another Facebook group I really like. So I found an appropriate link to share and started to read some of the posts others had shared. Then I had to see if my husband’s electronic Social Security deposit that should have hit the bank had arrived. It had. Updated checkbook to reflect that. Next I had to check for book orders in case I needed to process them before I could write. I was almost glad there weren’t any. Almost. They bring in more cash than writing.
Three Hours Later
I changed directions and decided to write this blog post before starting on the idea that made me get out of bed. By now I was thinking of all the things that can delay writing. I was thinking about that chard in my front yard and how I had so many seeds tucked away in my drafts I might never have time to nurture into posts. So I opened this long-neglected blog to express these ideas.
After first editing my photos, I checked my title score. Passable. Decided to leave it as is. Posted my featured image. Got this far on this post. I will finish it today, unless more distractions take me away.
- Run this through Yoast SEO and make suggested changes
- Proofread again
- Check image attributes for accuracy
- Preview and proofread again
- Make any necessary corrections
Enter a new distraction. And a new learning curve. Since I last wrote on this WordPress blog, Yoast changed its appearance and even the premium version no longer suggests related key phrases. Last time all this Yoast interaction was beneath my editor and there was more room to work there. The new sidebar is supposed to be more accessible. I find it harder for me work with. I also noticed this blog didn’t have the Premium version of Yoast yet. When I went to download it, I discovered my password had to be changed. I had to wait for an email to let me change it. That meant a delay in posting this. Delays are part of a writing life. They all interrupt my work schedule.
What About the Post That Woke Me Up?
I was going to start that new post tonight, but maybe I’ll start now. Part of the writing life is being flexible. I have the notes I wrote this morning to help. Tomorrow I will finish it if another unruly idea (or maybe a book order) doesn’t interfere. Please stand by.
Meanwhile, find out more about the purpose of this blog and its author. At the current time, I’m trying to wake it up to continue to integrate my writing life.