It makes me feel connected to the people and things around me, and sometimes, when I’m looking for something to jump-start my creative juices, I walk around the house, open books at random, and use the sentences my eyes fall upon to kick my writing into gear.
Let’s go on a real-time quest together, shall we?
First stop: Office bookshelf. Grabbing 365 Yoga: Daily Meditations by Julie Rappaport. Opening to #286. “The gateway asana encourages transformation. Practice of this intense side stretch takes us beyond our daily lives, stretching our boundaries so that we can move past limitations.” Just as yoga can expand the mind and possibility, a short writing prompt can bring up details we didn’t know were waiting to be revealed, information that could work its way nicely into a scene that had you stuck.
Next: Office desk. Julia Cameron’s The Writer’s Life: Insights from The Right to Write. Turning to page 64. “Writing both gives change and creates an awareness of change. A writing life is therefore – far from what our mythology around writing tells us – very often a life with substantial happiness at its core. Writing to find my happiness, I find my happiness – writing.” This resonates particularly on days when I feel a physical longing in my chest to get back to my book, to stop returning phone calls or making dinner so that I can lose myself in the story I’m crafting. Watching it come together makes me insanely joyful.
Then to the guest room. Pulling Writing Women’s Lives from the bookcase. Flipping to page 66, the beginning of an essay by Dorothy Day. “I was surprised that I found myself beginning to pray daily. I could not get down on my knees, but I could pray while I was walking.” We can’t always do things the traditional way. I write out of order, for instance, even with a 300-word newspaper column. Use the process that works for you.
Fourth and final stop. Back to my office, on the wall shelf above the couch. Parker J. Palmer’s Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation. “When I try to do something that is not in my nature or the nature of the relationship, way will close behind me.” Everything inside me says I should be writing this particular book at this particular time. Follow your passion and the path will stay clear.
Does any of this resonate with you? How do you find and use serendipity as a writer?