What’s the difference between a helpful routine and a plateau? Between having something to look forward to and a calendar that’s too full? I’m guessing the answer might vary depending on the person, their priorities, and circumstances.
We all need enough unscheduled time in our day to appreciate the magic of what’s around us. The flower that just bloomed. That the hummingbird at our feeder is no longer hovering above and leaning down to drink the nectar — she has alighted.
Unscheduled time to feel our humanity. To indulge the curiosities and impulses that our rational brains haven’t deemed “necessary”.
Last winter, in the darkest days of the 2021 pandemic shutdown, I heard of a live, online 6-week creative writing class. Only 6 students would be admitted. Perhaps this would be my perfect pandemic pastime! Finally, I thought, I could put the stories I’d imagined onto paper.
From AP English to writing The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Long-term care Planning 19 (gasp!) years ago, I had reason to believe that I was a pretty darn good writer. This opinion was reinforced when I studied how-to books by the advertising greats, then completed a slew of copywriting projects for insurers and other businesses.
Starting the assigned class reading*, I felt like a landlubber thrown off the high dive.
Splash! I wasn’t aware of this technique. Sputter! Oh my, that piece of advice makes such a difference. Glug, glug! I’ll never learn all the techniques in just these two volumes.
But I loved it. The course tapped me on the shoulder and reminded me how much I adore writing. Inspired, I embarked on this weekly newsletter.
I didn’t intend to start weekly email communications when I signed up for my pandemic pastime. Thankfully, the course gently delivered me to this destination where my pastime is now one of the most pleasurable parts of my business.
This is possible when we notice and when we allow. Both in business and life.
*Writing Fiction, A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway, tenth edition, 2019, University of Chicago Press.
Writing Tools, 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark , tenth anniversary edition, 2006, Little Brown Spark.