All writers have a process that allows them to create. However, the art of "Writing" is often mistaken for that "Process." Hopefully this blog explains the difference, and inspires people to develop their crafts, become writers, or just keep on writing.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Keeping Things Simple

At least here in the US, April 15th is usually associated with that wonderful frustration known as Tax Day. While many people no longer go through the physical act of writing all the numbers onto the tax forms, they usually don't commit to any other type of writing either. So, on this day, I am going to talk about taking a writing cheat day - doing some writing that is just for the pleasure of creating, without being challenging or exploring the deep recesses of one's soul. Nope, today we take a break from the heavy stuff, and reach into the bag of easy writing. And yes, there's actually a good reason for this, and yes, it has something to do with the cat in the picture.

One thing I know happens to me a lot and also to a number of other people is when life gets busy or hectic, it's difficult to just sit down and write. Even when there's time to write, a distracted mind is not a writer's friend. It's hard to create something meaningful when the taxes are due, the bills need paying, and that checkbook won't balance itself. In these cases, we should go for the easy win. The slam dunk writing assignment. The slump-buster that just gets us back into a good writing headspace.

The easiest one is to write something about your favorite pet, living or dead, or for that matter, any pet you wish to write about. My former cat, Meca (above), is an easy enough target. I could write about how she used to sit in front of my keyboard when I left it alone too long, or how she constantly got her head stuck in red Solo cups. I could talk about how she came into my life, how she died, or a million other little stories. They're easy to produce, simple enough to communicate, and everyone likes a pet story.

Not a pet owner? How about a story from your childhood? Everyone has a favorite teacher, a favorite location, some place that stands out - something. Writing down a simple childhood memory and fleshing out the details is always a good writing exercise and it's something that everyone can connect to. Even for those people who had very rough childhoods, hopefully it only takes a little digging through the rocky, coarse, hardscrabble terrain of our past to find that one flower of a memory poking up through the cracks. Those can even be the best stories simply because they stand out from the rest.

The childhood memory thing not latching on? Then write someone else's story. Do some people-watching, look at the faces around you, and make up their life for a bit. And yes - in the era of COVID, sometimes when I just want to see random faces, I turn on the TV, switch to a random, muted channel, and explore the people I see. News or reality shows can help when they show more candid, relatable people rather than people with proper lighting and heavy make-up, but the choice is yours. Make up a story about their ear piercing or their tattoo, what drove them to that hairstyle, or whatever aspect leaps out at you. It's an easy win for getting some writing done.

There are plenty of quick life hacks for getting in some writing when things are way too stressful or complicated for writing the perfect scene or poem. Rather, the secret is finding a safe haven in simplicity, and writing something that gets you out of the chaos for a little bit. Just write a little something now, and do your taxes later.

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