At the End of Summer

Of all the writing advice, the most difficult to do, the scariest thing to try: leave the phone behind.

When it comes to creativity, you probably already employee all these creativity hacks:

  • Show up every day to write, at roughly the same time, because the Muse keeps appointments.    
  • Protect your writing time and treat it like a job.  
  • Jettison negative people from your life.  If you belong to a club or have a group of friends who are killing your creativity, you leave.  Have you left yet?  Of course, you have.
  • Take up an alternative hobby, if you write, play music.  If you play music, dance.  If you dance, keep a journal.
  • Sign up for a community college extension class in the theory and uses of Greek pottery.
  • Break down your goals into manageable chunks of time and effort 
  • Keep a journal.
  • Deep study a new subject.
  • Read deeply.
  • Sleep well.

But what about the phone?

We need our phones.  There are friends to check on, FOMO to nurture, puppies to capture, kitten to share.

Add to your writing hack list:  leave the phone behind.

Yuba river

I left my phone behind on one of our last summer mornings.  

My husband and I climbed into the truck and bounced down a very long one-way dirt road to Purdon’s Crossing, part of the Yuba River. 

 We hiked down to the water’s edge and spent the morning on hot rocks, in cool water, under green pines, next to a dog with a horrible high yipping bark that kept up for an hour and a half.  

First: no one missed me.

Second: it was like getting time back. 

It was a perfect summer day with no filters, no photo ops.   He drove, I gazed out the window.  We talked. I relished the wind in my face and messy hair because at the river, no one cares.  I was in no danger of submitting to a casual photograph. Not once did I need to suck in my stomach.   

 I had time to concentrate on the light, the sounds.  I focused on climbing down a face of rocks to the water’s edge then took my time strategizing how to ascend those same rocks without tipping backward and killing myself. It was not climbing the face of Half Dome, but for me, it was challenging enough.

What I gained was a 1,000 more words for my book project.  A 1,000 words that often take hours to squeeze out of my brain, suddenly presented themselves Sunday afternoon. 

 I wasted an entire morning not only without the phone but without an agenda or even a goal.  I thought I was doing absolutely nothing. 

Turned out it was time well spent.

 Get a jump on your own writing hacks, take a class!

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