Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Shaken or Stirred? Or How I Got My Creativity Back


Mornin’, y’all. Happy to see you at the Back Fence where we are now officially in Spring, thanks to Daylight Saving Time. Our actual weather is another story, but I am grateful for more sunny days. That means even though the temperature is still COLD, warmer temps aren’t too far behind. Usually. According to the local weather forecast. Which is subject to change. Probably. Sigh.

If you’ve ever struggled with Seasonal Affective Disorder, I have a story to share today. Did y’all know that SAD is often called winter blues or winter depression? I reckon it could affect people in the summer too, but most of the time it’s caused by lack of sunshine during the winter. It’s also one of the reasons many residents from the northern states (snowbirds) spend winters in the South. There’s nothing depressing about warm, sunny days to this transplanted Texan. However, not everyone leaves the dreariness of the North when the first leaf drops in the Fall. The people who stay, especially those of us born and raised under the Texas sun, have a tough time getting through the long, gray winter days, not to mention the freezing temps. In case you didn’t notice, this gal’s not lovin’ winter. At all.

Fortunately, I have a terrific family who understands my deep blue funk. They don’t like it, but they understand. I’m also blessed with an awesome bunch of BFFs who happen to be my support group as well as my writing critique group. Unfortunately, they can’t do anything about the weather, but I know they always have my back.

After witnessing my ongoing stress for several months as I hit a brick wall after brick wall with my book’s plot, my family sent me on a cruise to the Bahamas with orders to take advantage of the Me Time to reclaim my creativity again. Actually, what they said was, “Mom, you really need to get out of here.” 



Tempted by the thought of being pampered by the ship’s staff and having no decisions to make except the awesome choices on the dinner menu and whether I wanted my drink shaken or stirred (in this case, with or without umbrellas) I agreed. Somewhat uneasy about leaving certain situations at home behind, I set off with my daughter-in-law, two adult granddaughters, their friend and my niece for a big girls get-away.



Sunshine? Oh, I got my dose the first day at sea. Food, drinks, no problems. I took advantage of occasional quiet time to write scenes that came to me in light-bulb moments. I rearranged scenes, moved characters into a different part of story and even had a visit by an unexpected character who insisted on joining the story. I had arguments with my inner editor and learned to turn it off. Did I want this scene to happen here or there? Should this clue be given now or later? Did I want my drink shaken or stirred? Right or wrong, the choices were mine to make, so I did. 


Know what I discovered on this odyssey to find my creativity again? Freedom . . . to open my mind and let the creative juices flow wherever they wanted . . . to stop trying to force its direction and just once, go with the flow . . . to take chances with whatever idea popped into my head, especially the ones that push the edge, and know that I have freedom to change any part that doesn’t work. Garbage in, garbage out. Simple. 

Freedom . . . to sit on the beach in a clamshell, frosty drink nearby, pull out ordinary paper and pencil and write down my daydreams . . . to watch the others frolic in the ocean and soak up their daily dose of sun while I absorbed the absolute beauty of the private island, Half Moon Cay . . . to discover my creativity well hadn’t run dry, after all. It had simply been waiting for me to decide if I wanted it shaken or stirred. So I decided. And like any good writer, I won’t reveal the spoiler. But I’m writing again. 



So I ask you this. Would you go on such an odyssey? What would you hope to find? After you ponder on this a while, leave a comment and share your thoughts.

See y’all next time here Across the Back Fence. Y’all come back, ya’ hear?


Loralee

18 comments:

  1. Love the pictures Loralee and so glad you enjoyed your time away with the girls and also that you got your awesome writing skills back in order.

    Winter is a hard time for sure, and for some reason this winter has seemed to drag on much to long...or maybe it's just those gray skies that have dragged on too long. lol

    And in answer to your question, I would definitely go on an odyssey like you described...and what I'd hope to find?--sunshine and relaxation :)

    Happy writing!!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Christine, I highly recommend the odyssey for anyone needing "Me" time or just plain fun time! And I agree, the gray skies have been here waaay too long. Thanks for stopping by the back fence. Always love to see you here.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm so ready for some sunshine! Michigan winters are horrible. Yesterday we had a field trip in the rain! Today it's snowing! I'm very ready for some "me" time. But I'm so afraid of cruises in light of the recent events. I'm glad you got your mojo back! I'm working on it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Melissa, you don't have to go on a cruise, just find a place where you can empty your mind of everyday worries and let your imagination soar. Our Mid-Michigan Retreat From Harsh Reality is a good place, too.

      Delete
  4. Your pictures make me want to go on a cruise, Loralee, but I'm afraid it will never happen with my fear of water. Yep, big time fear. I'm the one who can swim, but doesn't because it terrifies me. The thought of being surrounded by nothing but water makes me hyperventilate, lol. But I'm so happy you had a great time and restored your creative juices! That's like a bonus! I'm looking forward to warmer days for sure :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jennifer, I lived on the Texas Gulf coast awhile and loved it, even though a hurricane hit out town when I was a kid. Really scary, but I still love being around water. I think warmer days will help everyone, no matter what they are doing.

      Delete
  5. I've escaped to sunny Florida (though it's rained all day today) and I love the warmer weather, but so far I'm still having trouble with the writing. I guess I need that cruise with the drinks...or maybe just the drinks.

    Glad you had fun, Loralee.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Maris, I envy you your warmer winters. I did find that a total change of location and people (worries) helped a lot in freeing my mind for creative thoughts. I love island time, too. And cruising. And the drinks. Up here it's snow showers today. And fireplaces. And cold! Sigh.

    ReplyDelete
  7. So glad you got your creativity back. Cruises are so wonderfully relaxing. Michigan winters are depressing. We're in Phoenix right now enjoying sun, warmth, and our son. No drinks but plenty of sun and relaxation. Did I mention the sun???

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you can enjoy warm sunny days with your son, Diane. R&R is necessary for everyone now and then. To escape gray days can mean better health for lots of us. You didn't mention writing, so I know you are getting some well deserved time off. Have fun!

      Delete
  8. Loralee,

    What a nice post. Your pictures are bright and cheerful on such a dreary day that we are having here in Michigan. As I have gotten older I find I am more "down-in-the-dumps" in the winter. I envy anyone who gets to a brighter, warmer climate during these winter months. My bff is in Phoenix for a month taking in as many baseball games as she can. I would have loved to tag along.

    Glad you found your creativity and "get-up-and-go".

    P.s. Good answer about Retreat From Harsh Reality being a good escape. Thx! :)Hope to see you soon!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annie, the sunny days really do chase to those winter blues away. I could feel it in my bones.
      And having "me" time was a big treat. So was not having to cook and do dishes!

      I look forward to our Retreat every year. It's a writer's version of "me" time with benefits.

      Delete
  9. What a wonderful family you have, to whisk you away for a trip like this! My daughter had pretty much the same idea - so she and I went to Los Angeles for a week. Unfortunately, we brought the cold weather with us. It was in the 60s and overcast for most of the week. But we had a lot of free time. I finished four books on my ipad that I'd started but never had time to finish. And I managed to tie up some loose ends in my current WIP's plot. So yes, Me Time is definitely important. Glad you're back though - maybe you brought some of that sunshine with you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Patricia, even though you had cooler weather in LA, you had quality time with your daughter plus time to finish four books. I'd say you had excellent "Me" time. Way to go!

      Delete
  10. How fun to have a "big girls" vacation! Glad you could get away for awhile. I guess I don't mind winter so much as long as I don't have to get out in it too much, but the gray days can get long and depressing. I would love to get away to a cottage near a beach, a warm beach, that is, for a week and finish revising a ms. Well,spring is only a week away. :)
    P.S. Those drinks look yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Lucy, think of our Retreat From Harsh Reality next month as a "big girls" vacation, okay? Can't promise warm beaches, but there'll be warm friendship, for sure. Of course, you already know that. See you there, girlfriend!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Loralee,

    Congratulations on the scope of your success. It's so nice when you become 'unplugged' as it were, isn't it? You are one lucky lady with that great family of yours. Take care.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Margo, thanks for stopping by. Yes, getting that "me" time was a wonderful treat. I am blessed with a very special family.

    ReplyDelete