I’ve had many great teachers in my life, and very few as engaging as my cats. Yes, I actually learn a LOT from Wesa and Snickerdoodle! As I watch them play and interact with each other, laze around in various parts of the house, unexpectedly jump into my lap and paw at my fingers that are flying over the computer keyboard, I realize there’s so much I can learn from their lifestyle.
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned from my furry felines is “being present;” living in the moment. And this applies to writing too. As writers, bloggers and Authorpreneurs, we of all people should be attuned to what’s going on around us. Yet all too often we get so caught up in the past (“shoulding” on ourselves… “I should have done xyz…”), whether it’s what we did or didn’t do a week ago or a decade ago, or we’re so focused on the future (with anxiety or anticipation), that we go from day to day on autopilot. AND we miss the most magical moments.
Writers are practically born creative, visionary and observant. They notice the nuances and finer details of life and are masters at articulating and conveying ideas with the written word. Unfortunately, when you allow yourself to live on autopilot or to focus too much on the past or the future, you’ll lose your creative mindset by:
- Being overly critical of your writing (Yeah, I know you’ve been there!)
- Fearing what others might think of it (I’ve been here too…)
- Questioning if you’re “good enough” to make the cut (Every writer seems to do this one.)
- Playing the “What If” game: What if I fail? What if I succeed? What if it doesn’t sell?
I’ve had to train my brain to be more like my cats. Sure, I’m aware of my accomplishments and mistakes from the week before (usually more aware of my mistakes, to be honest), and I get super excited about all the creative things I’ve got up my sleeve for the coming months. AND—and it’s a BIG “and”—I’ve been working very hard this year to make an effort to capture The Now as I go through my day. If I’m working, I try my hardest to remain totally focused. This usually means I have to shut off Facebook and silence my phone (and flip it screen-side-down so those pesky light-up notifies don’t distract me). If I’m playing (whether with other people, toys at my store, or my cats), I’m enjoying every minute. If I’m with a person (or a group), I’m WITH them, in the present, capturing the now… and I totally understand that all of that is a lot easier said than done!
It’s all about creating positive habits. Like taking a “cat nap” in the middle of the day.
Do you want your writing to come alive? Be more dynamic? Grab your audience? Then become an observer of what’s going on around you. Take note of the nuances. Allow yourself to feel and experience what’s happening inside and outside you and then let it be reflected in your writing. Wesa and Snickerdoodle might not be formal teachers, yet they’re still great at reminding me that there’s no time like the present!