Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Breathing space

I know we are always being told to write, write, write if we want to be published; to practice our art so we can fine tune it and turn our scribbles into something publishable. But sometimes we just have to learn to let go. If we write too much for too long it can almost be as bad as not writing anything at all. We talk about keeping out writing muscle limbered up and lean, but overuse can lead to strain and fatigue.

I took my daughter to a birthday party this afternoon but as there was loud music and flashing disco lights her dad had to stay in the party room with her as the lights and the music were making me feel dizzy and sick  -  usually a precurser to a major migraine for me, so I went and sat in the car. At first I was annoyed as I hadn't brought my note book and pen or a book or magazine to read - not even a newspaper, anything to while away the two hours. There was a shop across from the car park but I hadn't brought any money either so couldn't even purchase anything to read.

I thought to myself what a wasted opportunity! I could have done some writing. But I hadn't bought my writer's kit so that was that. I almost always have a pen and notebook wherever I go, but on the one occasion I could have used it it wasn't there!  So while I was kicking myself it suddenly occured to me that it wasn't a wasted opportunity at all. I'd been working hard all week and was tired so this was the perfect opportunity to have a rest; to sit back and watch the world go by.

I saw a young man of about 17/18 years old with spiky brown hair bouncing a football along the road. Two suspicious looking men: one in a flourescent jellow jacket and beanie hat, the other in a hooded top staring at something on the path (they were behind a line of bushes so I couldn't see what they were up to), but they were prodding at something for a couple of minutes and then they walked off. Then there were some of my daughter's friends in various fancy dress costumes: a princess, a fireman, a policeman and a bride walking past to go to the party. I saw three older man standing outside the car next to mine, chatting and laughing, having been to the pub for lunch. I saw a middle aged man go to the shop for his paper too. I had a good couple of hours worth of people watching - an essential activity for writers! You have to do it as it's the law!

I also listened to Heart FM. I don't often listen to the radio but they seemed to be having an 80's thing going on intespersed with the latest tunes so I had a trip down memory lane (I was a teenager in the 80's) and it was nice to be able to just sit in the car while the sun was shining (makes a welcome change from snow and rain!)

So I'd recommend taking time out  -especially when it's an surprise break like mine! It might even fire up your creativity and give you some ideas to writes about. Being nosy, I mean watchful is a useful skill for writers to have. If you can notice things about other people and the environment you find yourself in, that others miss you will have some originality and spark about your writing.

Have fun seeing life from a different angle!

Julie xx


klahanie said...

Greetings Julie,
A most interesting posting.
I used to spend a lot of time in my previous car, waiting for my son to get off work. He worked only half a day on a Friday and being such a long way from our house; I would wait until his shift finished.
Anyhow, I used that time to formulate thoughts and writing for future blogs. One of my blogs was about the time I spent in a cold car park in the middle of the Staffordshire Moorlands.
Observation and inspiration from music; has helped me to write.
Here's wishing you well in continuing to find 'sparks' in your writing. 'Sparks' that 'fire' the imagination.
With respect and kind wishes, Gary x

Teresa Ashby said...

You are so right, Julie. I get very edgy if I find myself like you were, with nothing to read and no pen and paper to scribble on (I've been known to write on the inside of a flattened paracetamol packet in desperation). Yet once you settle down to some people watching and let your mind run wild and free it's like a kind of magic.

But why do we have to be forced into doing it?

Julie P said...

We never can just sit still and be can we, Teresa! My mind seems to be constantly on the go, chattering away like a little monkey! But once I realised I couldn't write or do much else I relaxed and enjoyed watching people.

Maybe I should do it more often - on purpose.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

I think we just need to sit down and stop every now and then, Gary, and just live in that moment. I found it interesting last night that I slept a lot better than I usually do - I wonder if this was connected to my enforced couple of hours just sitting in the car people watching.

You were very good to your son to sit and wait for him and it gave you a writing opportunity - I think for people who don't have much time for writing (my writing time has been reduced due to my new job), these little snatches of writing time are ideal. But I also think it did this writer good not to write for a change!

Best wishes

Julie xx

Mike said...

I remember standing, waiting, having a lovely time inside my head, moving my characters about and seeing what they did next. I was never alone or bored.

Diane Perry said...

A lot of my creative thoughts are spent during my time traveling to work in my car. It's awful as it's quite a long journey and I suddenly get an idea and have to repeat it in my head until I can stop to write it down. I have pulled off in the past and scribbled something down on an old receipt, I think I even used a lottery ticket once as like you I did not have a note book. I agree now, always be prepared.
Great post Julie

Olivia Ryan said...

I'm the same, Julie: I find it almost impossible to just sit and do nothing. Not that I'm particularly energetic (!) - I just hate wasting time. Even if the TV's on, I have a book, magazine or paper to read at the same time, or do a crossword ...! If I forget to take a book when I've got a doctor's or hospital appointment I feel physically sick at the idea of just sitting there waiting. I think I've got worse as I've got older ... it must be the awareness of time running out! Eeeek!! xx

Julie P said...

My family always joke about me, Mike, as I very often go off on one into my own little world, thinking about writing usually! And they can't get a sensible word out of me - or my attention! I think it's a writer thing!
Julie xx

Julie P said...

It's agonising when an idea pops out of the blue into your head and you've nothing to write it down on or you can't stop what you're doing to get it down on paper!

Yes, we shall have to be more prepared, Di!Mind you I quite enjoyed just sitting there for a while - would have gone mad had a writing idea come to me though!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Multi taking is my middle name, Olivia! It must ne a writer's thing - something genetic!

Julie xx