In writing the story I’m currently working on, after putting almost 47,000 words to “paper” I determined that the story was no longer going in the right direction nor was my main character portraying what I needed her to portray. So instead of starting over from scratch I decided I’d rework it, using some of what I’ve written, deleting other sections, reordering still others, and writing new pieces to add more of what I needed it to say.
I was busy with this task when my youngest kids came over for dinner last evening. I probably shouldn’t have let myself run on quite to the last minute, but mentally I was on a roll and wanted to finish as much of what I was contemplating as possible. They caught me in the middle of pondering how to add “something to the end of the paragraph I was reworking. So I thought it would be a good idea to put a few words down in red to remind myself where I was and what I was working with. Except I only added these two words: “There was________.”
Sitting at my desk this morning I pulled up my document, looked at these two words and drew a total blank. I have absolutely NO idea what I was thinking or wanting to say or where I was wanting that paragraph to go. I’m not sure how I honestly thought that a mere two words could stimulate a memory in that way.
Have you ever had a similar experience? You jot down a note to remind yourself of a task, but somehow when you read it later it makes no sense? Or you tie the proverbial string around your finger to remind yourself of something you have to do but there’s no recollection of what that is? Or better yet, you put something away in a special place because you know you’ll remember where it is, only to discover later that you’ve lost it entirely?
I would love to blame this on age, and in some ways I guess that’s true. But since I’ve done things like that for most of my life, I don’t think it’s really age that’s to blame. I think it might be that we live too fast to really register what we’re doing when we’re doing it. We don’t give ourselves time to savor each moment and action and thought the way we should.
As I continue my journey in writing the story placed on my heart so many years ago, I realize how important it is to slow down and let our minds stop racing for awhile and just ponder. Creative juices, restful energy, relaxation–only happen when we slow down and breathe deep and long. My ability to write, to express what was in my mind and on my heart was best during my cancer treatment. Don’t get me wrong. There were TONS of grammatical errors, misspelled words, and lost thoughts along the way. Chemo does a real number on your cognitive abilities. Don’t let anyone tell you it doesn’t. That said, life was a lot slower for me. I was given a lot of time to rest…to think…to ponder what I would write in the blog each week.
I realize that the more life has gone “back to normal” it gets harder to slow things down that way. Last year, during the COVID-19 lockdowns, I noticed a similar slowing of life and deepening of thought. It was the time I needed to help germinate the groundwork on this story I’m now writing. But now life is returning to a more normal pace, as at least my family has been getting vaccinated and learning to navigate their own new normals. And this means my life is returning to faster, more hectic velocity, leaving me stumbling over words and thoughts way more than I’d like.
So, note to self. One that needs to written in big, bold letters and placed in a prominent place so I don’t forget or miss the “train of thought” it conveys. SLOW DOWN. BREATHE LIFE IN SLOWLY. SAVOR EACH MOMENT, EACH THOUGHT. ENJOY.
It won’t fix my lost thoughts in the paragraph of my book. But maybe, moving forward it will help me enjoy the process more fully. 😉